Patriots de facto general manager Eliot Wolf and first-year head coach Jerod Mayo are in a position they’ve never been before. The position is unfamiliar to the organization as a whole, never mind just New England’s top two football minds.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a difficult one.

The Patriots absolutely should stick at No. 3 in the 2024 NFL Draft. And they absolutely should draft the top-three quarterback that falls to them.

There’s no harm in taking the last man standing from the consensus top three of Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye. The Patriots might not control their own fate like Chicago and Washington at Nos. 1 and 2, but they do control their short-term outlook and long-term future.

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A quarterback, especially in this scenario, addresses both.

Wolf said Thursday he feels there will be at least one quarterback available at No. 3 deserving of that selection. Wolf called it a “unique” year given the talent of the quarterback class. He said the Patriots brass would be “comfortable” drafting a quarterback with that pick, and said he thinks the team is ready to bring in a franchise signal-caller. In his first public comments as New England’s personnel leader — he hasn’t been named general manager, but figures to be the front-runner for that position — Wolf salivated about the quarterback class. He praised the toughness and leadership the top signal-callers oozed, while seemingly believing franchise quarterbacks are most often found in the first round.

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Wolf and the Patriots are still keeping their options open. Wolf reiterated Thursday the Patriots remain “open for business” with their first-round pick or any selection after that. Mayo said the Patriots were willing to listen to offers, too. That’s fine to say publicly. It’s fine to keep that door open in case a desperate team takes desperation to a new level and trades “the bag,” as Mayo put it.

But when the calendar turns to Thursday, and when the Patriots are on the clock, those feelings should go out the Gillette Stadium window.

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It’s not that difficult.

Quarterback isn’t just the most important position in sports. It’s also a need for the Patriots. They know it. Robert Kraft wants a “top-rate” QB, too. Its right there for them.

It all starts there, after all. New England’s other needs at offensive tackle and wide receiver won’t matter if the team doesn’t have a quarterback. Solving the quarterback position will revitalize the fan base, too, though that should not be the most important aspect. Ultimately acing that quarterback selection is also the fastest way for New England to become a destination for other top players, a label it hasn’t had since Tom Brady’s departure.

With all signs pointing to Williams and Daniels being first off the board, the Patriots’ decision might come down to Maye vs. J.J. McCarthy. At that point,t it’s just deciding who is the best fit.

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Maye feels like the best long-term option. The North Carolina product has arguably the highest ceiling of any quarterback prospect, draft experts say. McCarthy might be the safer decision, now is the time to swing for the fences, and Maye is viewed as a “home-run pick.”

If all goes well, if the Patriots draft a quarterback and specifically if they land Maye, that should go a long way in making sure they don’t get familiar with this unfamiliar position in which they find themselves.

Featured image via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images