Commanders Link to QB May Shed New Light on Patriots Options For No. 3 Pick

In the 2024 NFL Draft lead-up, speculation swirls around the Washington Commanders and their potential pick at No. 2 overall. This directly affects which top quarterback prospects the New England Patriots will be able to choose from with pick No. 3. While it is widely anticipated that the Commanders would target one of the top quarterback prospects, rumors suggest that new general manager Adam Peters may have already set his sights on a surprising choice.

JJ McCarthy declares for NFL after 3 seasons with Michigan football

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, there’s speculation within league circles that Peters favors Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy. This unexpected development has raised eyebrows, especially considering McCarthy’s recent emergence as a top-tier prospect.

“It’ll be really interesting because everybody’s always trying to figure out, especially at the top of the draft, what the other teams are doing,” Pelissero said from the owners’ meetings. When we’ve had conversations here with executives for other teams who know Adam Peters well, who know the situation well, the most popular answer for what they do at No. 2 is J.J. McCarthy. So, a lot of drama still to come.”

McCarthy Over Jayden Daniels?

Many believed that the Commander’s signing of Marcus Mariota, a player with a skill set similar to LSU’s Jayden Daniels, meant Daniels was trending to be the pick in Washington. Couple that with new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and his system, and the Daniels-to-Washington narrative seemed to fit. ESPN’s Matt Miller even spoke about how perfect of a fit Daniels would be under Kingsbury in Washington. Miller commented on Kliff Kingsbury’s work with Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech and Kyler Murray in Arizona with the Cardinals.

“I think Jayden Daniels is a little bit of a combination of those two in terms of what you’re getting as a prospect coming out of college,” Miller said. “Not who he’s going to be… Some of that ability is going to fit great in this scheme. The downfield passing ability with Jahon Dotson and Terry McLaurin is exactly what Jayden Daniels needs from an offensive coordinator,” Miller explained.

So, as many insiders and journalists started to slowly settle into the conclusion that Daniels would be selected No. 2 overall, how has McCarthy’s name suddenly leaped a few top-tier prospects, including the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Jayden Daniels?

The Ascension of J.J. McCarthy

McCarthy’s rise in draft discussions has been quite remarkable. Once considered a potential late first-round pick, J.J. McCarthy has rapidly ascended draft boards and is now commonly projected within the top ten selections in mock drafts. His standout performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, particularly during the throwing session, where he outshone his quarterback counterparts, has further solidified his draft stock.

During his junior season in 2023, McCarthy showcased his talent by throwing for 2,991 yards, 22 touchdowns, and only four interceptions while leading the Michigan Wolverines to a national championship. His success on the field, combined with an impressive showing at the combine, has garnered significant attention from NFL analysts and insiders.

Following the combine, ESPN’s Dan Graziano speculated that McCarthy could be a top-ten pick, indicating a growing consensus among draft experts. Similarly, SNY’s Connor Hughes suggested that the New York Giants could be a potential landing spot for McCarthy at No. 6 overall. These were the first two indications that many were starting to see McCarthy as a top-ten pick.

Selecting McCarthy would represent a significant departure from the expected narrative for the Commanders. With the departure of 2023 starter Sam Howell and the signing of veteran Marcus Mariota, Washington is poised to usher in a new era under the leadership of owner Josh Harris and head coach Dan Quinn.

The Impact in New England

While it’s essential to approach these rumors cautiously, they aren’t entirely created out of thin air. It is important to note that Peters himself has downplayed any suggestion of a definitive decision. “We are far from making a decision,” Peters stated while tempering expectations and emphasizing the deliberative nature of the draft process.

But if the Commanders do, in fact, pull the first shocker of the draft and select McCarthy instead of Jayden Daniels or UNC’s Drake Maye, the conversation mightily shifts for the Patriots. It’s long been thought that the Commanders would decide between Daniels and Maye. Then the Patriots would have to decide if they like the odd quarterback out enough to select him at No. 3, potentially select a different position, or pull the dreaded Patriots draft day trade down to acquire more draft capital.

The Patriots have been tied to both Daniels and Maye, but very few thought they would have to decide between the two of them. Coach Jerod Mayo even hinted that they don’t have to select a quarterback at No. 3 if they’re not in love with the guy who is still on the board. “It’s the priority right now,” Mayo said of adding a quarterback.” “But with that being said, you have to be in love with the guy to take him at No. 3. So, all the options are still open for us”.

Mayo made those comments, assuming that either Daniels or Maye would be off the board. And with the Commander’s apparent new interest in McCarthy, perhaps the Patriots will have a choice between Maye and Daniels and can get the quarterback prospect they absolutely love.

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