J.J. McCarthy

Patriots Haven’t Received Serious Offer For No. 3 Pick

The Patriots continue to consider their options with the third-overall pick, including a scenario where they trade out of the selection. Of course, that would require a suitor to pony up the necessary assets, and the Patriots have yet to find a worthy trade partner.

[RELATED: Jonathan Kraft Heavily Involved In Patriots’ Draft Plans]

According to Mark Daniels and Karen Guregian of MassLive.com, the Patriots have yet to receive a “serious” offer for the No. 3 pick. While phone lines are open in New England, a source described the offers as “laughable” and “not close” to moving the needle. Another source was skeptical that the team’s desired haul will be proposed between now and the draft.

Albert Breer of SI.com says the Patriots will continue to listen to offers up until they’re officially on the clock. This would seem to indicate that the organization is more than receptive to making a trade, which is somewhat contrary to what we heard this past weekend. It’s worth noting that the Patriots and de facto GM Eliot Wolf are pursuing an “unprecedented package” (per Daniels), so while the team may be considering a trade, it’s uncertain if another organization would be willing to give up the required assets.

There was recent speculation that the Vikings coveted North Carolina QB Drake Maye, making them a natural trade partner with the Patriots. Other quarterback-needy squads like the Giants and Broncos have also been connected to Maye. Once these suitors get clarity with the top-two picks, the Patriots may be able to squeeze a worthy trade package from one of these squads.

The Patriots have made it clear that they’re seeking a rookie quarterback, so there’s a perfectly reasonable scenario where the organization selects one of the draft’s upper-echelon players at the position. With Caleb Williams expected to go first and Jayden Daniels trending towards the second-overall pick, there have been rumblings that both Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy have fans in New England.

Maye has generally been ranked higher than McCarthy throughout the pre-draft process, although Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports is unconvinced that the Patriots are interested in the North Carolina prospect. As Jones notes, most pundits have “assumed” Maye would be New England’s pick, but he hasn’t heard anyone “who believes strongly” that Maye will go to the Patriots. If the Patriots aren’t sold on Maye, that would only lend credence to a potential trade. In almost 48 hours, we’ll have our answer.

Raiders Contact Commanders About No. 2 Pick; No Trade Expected

After new Commanders GM Adam Peters said he did not envision many scenarios in which his team would move off the No. 2 overall pick, the other team that has been regularly connected to Jayden Daniels opted to test the NFC East team’s commitment.

The Raiders indeed contacted the Commanders about a trade-down from No. 2, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo reports. Other teams have inquired about Washington’s selection, but Garafolo and NFL.com colleague Ian Rapoport note the team has not shown an indication it is interested in moving down.

[RELATED: How Will Raiders Address QB Need In Draft?]

Indeed, the draft is expected to start with Caleb Williams and Daniels. While the 2023 Heisman winner is not considered a full-on lock to head to Washington in the way the 2022 Heisman recipient is tied to Chicago at No. 1, SI.com’s Albert Breer offers that most around the NFL expect Daniels to be a Commander by Thursday night.

Not ruling out Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy to Washington, Breer notes Daniels remains a clear favorite here. It has been trending this way for a bit now. Still, Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson adds Maye and McCarthy fans still exist within the Washington building. These two joined Daniels on that much-discussed mass Commanders visit last week.

It is certainly unsurprising to see the Raiders mentioned as an 11th-hour suitor. Due to Antonio Pierce‘s past with Daniels at Arizona State, they have been connected to the dual-threat talent longer than any NFL team. But Washington lost its final eight games last season, outflanking New England for the right to pick second. The Raiders holding No. 13 overall has long made it unlikely they could put together a package appealing enough to convince a QB-needy Commanders operation to slide down that far.

A report earlier this month offered intrigue about the Raiders’ desire to move up, putting Pierce and new GM Tom Telesco on opposing sides of that debate. Telesco, who has been tied to either Justin Herbert or Philip Rivers throughout his GM career, was said to not be overly enthusiastic about the prospect of sacrificing major draft capital to acquire a quarterback in this draft. Pierce was pegged as being readier to do what it takes to land a long-term passer. The now-full-time HC has not been shy about expressing his interest in such an addition, but the Raiders’ draft slot will bring complications in a year that could feature an NFL-first QB-QB-QB-QB start to a draft.

As it stands now, Gardner Minshew is on track to be Las Vegas’ Week 1 starter. But Daniels is not the only passer the Raiders have been paired with during the draft run-up. Raiders interest in Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. has escalated, at least per multiple reports; the recent national championship game starter could profile as a Daniels consolation prize for Pierce’s team. Then again, a Monday rumor suggested the Patriots could be open to trading back — perhaps with the Vikings (No. 11) or Broncos (No. 12) — and acquiring Penix. Thus far, however, New England is also expected to stay at No. 3 and choose a passer.

Perhaps a final round of Raiders-Daniels buzz circulated last week, when reports pointed to the ex-Arizona State recruit wanting to play for the AFC West team. Barring historically unusual efforts, players do not exactly have a say in who drafts them. Daniels, who attended Las Vegas’ Week 18 game and visited Pierce’s team in the locker room, did not deny interest in being a Raider. But he acknowledged he will be eager to play for whichever team drafts him. It still looks like that will be the Commanders.

The Raiders showed interest in trading up — likely with Daniels in mind — at multiple points this offseason, even to the point they were interested in obtaining the No. 1 pick. The Bears showed next to no interest in making a move, having traded Justin Fields to clear the decks for Williams. The Commanders made a similar move, dealing Sam Howell to the Seahawks and installing Marcus Mariota as a backup/bridge option.

Broncos Viewed As Unlikely To Stay At No. 12; Latest On Team’s QB Interest

Trade acquisition Zach Wilson gives the Broncos another option at quarterback, but his wildly disappointing Jets tenure would stand to make it difficult to believe the AFC West team will head into OTAs with just he and Jarrett Stidham at quarterback.

While Denver has been tied to eyeing a move up the board, increased rumblings about the team trading down have surfaced. The Broncos have made calls about moving down the board, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, and teams are viewing the Sean PaytonGeorge Paton operation as unlikely to stay at No. 12.

[RELATED: Broncos Open To Moving Future First-Round Picks For QB]

Broncos discussions about moving down have indeed occurred, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, though multiple teams in the top 10 have also heard from them about moving up. The Patriots and Cardinals have received offers about their top-four picks, and while it is unknown which teams have submitted those proposals, it is not farfetched to guess the Broncos are among the interested parties.

A move down the board — a rumored scenario earlier this month — would add to Denver’s arsenal, which current lacks a second-round pick due to last year’s swap with the Saints for Payton’s rights. It is also possible the Broncos could end up with a potential starting QB if they traded down. Bo Nix-to-Denver connections are still circulating on draft week, Jones adds. Our Ely Allen wrapped up his Prospect Profile series with Nix, a QB with gaudy stats (while at Oregon, that is) but questions about his long-term outlook. Some teams view the former Auburn recruit as a Day 2 pick, and he has commonly checked in as this draft’s sixth-best QB prospect. But the Broncos have been the team coming up most frequently in connection with Nix. A February report tied Denver to both he and J.J. McCarthy, and connections have persisted.

It would be a daring move from the Broncos to pass on this year’s QB crop and pit Stidham against Wilson for the starting job. This setup would certainly generate skepticism about their contention hopes, but with the larger chunk of Russell Wilson‘s dead money on Denver’s cap sheet this year ($50MM-plus), it is not inconceivable a reset season is coming. That said, it would be a bit surprising to see a 60-year-old Payton sign off on this — perhaps with a plan to target a 2025 QB draftee — for a full season. This type of plan backfired in his 2021 Saints finale.

On that note, the player the Broncos have been trying for eight years to replace shed some light about his former team’s interests. Peyton Manning confirmed during a 104.3 The Fan appearance the Broncos are “very interested” in McCarthy.

This follows a report suggesting Payton is open to mortgaging the team’s future to land his desired QB this year. While Drake Maye could now have a lead on McCarthy with the Vikings and Giants, the Broncos are believed to like the Michigan product. If Maye goes to the Patriots at No. 3, we will find out which teams truly like McCarthy. Minnesota and New York standing down would clear a path for Denver, which could then target Arizona’s No. 4 pick.

It would take plenty of capital to go from No. 12 to No. 4. The Broncos picked up Patrick Surtain‘s fifth-year option Tuesday and are rumored to be preparing extension talks after the draft, but the All-Pro cornerback’s name has come up as a chip to help the Broncos move up for a quarterback. The Broncos trading their top player would be a risky move, but the team has certainly been without an upper-crust answer at the game’s marquee position for a while. How the Broncos go about filling this need — if they end up doing so — will be one of the draft’s top storylines.

Jonathan Kraft Heavily Involved In Patriots’ Draft Plans; Michael Penix Jr. On Radar

Patriots preparations for their previous 24 drafts featured no questions as to who ran the show. As the franchise pushed its Super Bowl count to 10 and championship number to six, it relied on Bill Belichick to make the call. While some memorable misses took place, the legendary HC certainly fared well in this role as the team regularly built stout defenses around Tom Brady.

This year, the Pats enter the draft with an unusual setup. Eliot Wolf is in place as the de facto GM, but the team is planning to conduct interviews after the draft. It would be quite odd — given the decision the team faces at No. 3 overall — if ownership would consider giving someone else final say post-draft after letting Wolf potentially choose a long-term QB option. Days away from the draft, a quarterback pick is indeed the expectation for the suddenly rebuilding squad.

As the Patriots consider a potential trajectory-altering pick at 3, another key voice has emerged alongside Wolf. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft is “heavily involved” in the team’s pre-draft decision-making process, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini. The son of owner Robert Kraft, Jonathan has been with the organization since his father acquired it in the 1990s. While Russini adds Wolf is running the show, the younger Kraft’s involvement obviously generates questions.

Owners regularly intervene in draft decisions, though a clearly defined hierarchy — one that features football-ops personnel leading the way — is certainly the best path for an organization to take regarding high-stakes decisions. Jonathan Kraft playing a major role would mark a significant change for the Patriots, who obviously relied on Belichick for decades. Wolf’s opportunity coming with heavy ownership intervention would be an interesting start to his GM run — if that should indeed commence — with the Patriots would be interesting, as this is the second-generation personnel man’s first opportunity to lead a front office.

As for which way the Patriots are going at No. 3, signs point to them keeping the pick and drafting a quarterback. Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy have fans in the building, per SI.com’s Albert Breer, continuing a theme for a team that will probably see both the North Carolina and Michigan prospects on the board when it goes on the clock. The Pats brought a large contingent to Maye’s pro day. In addition to Wolf and Jerod Mayo, Breer adds OC Alex Van Pelt, senior offensive assistant Ben McAdoo, QBs coach T.C. McCartney and front office staffers Alonzo Highsmith, Matt Groh, Pat Stewart and Camren Williams also have input in this pivotal draft decision.

New England has also made it known it would be willing to trade the pick, but as of late last week, no offers strong enough are believed to have emerged. That said, Michael Penix Jr. fans reside in the organization. Penix is not expected to be a top-three pick, pointing to the Washington-developed southpaw being in play if the Pats pull the trigger on trading down. In fact, Breer adds the Patriots’ late Penix visit came about because they could be interested in nabbing him following a trade-down maneuver.

Some NFL personnel believe the Patriots will, in fact, trade down, Sportskeeda.com’s Tony Pauline adds. If the Patriots move back, it adds a significant wrinkle to this year’s top five. But if the Vikings or Broncos — both closely connected to moving up for a passer — make a strong enough offer the Pats agree to slide out of the top 10, Pauline adds a belief around the NFL exists indicating the Pats would then select Penix in the middle of Round 1. Our Ely Allen detailed the former Indiana and Washington starter’s prospect profile recently.

The Vikings hold No. 11 overall; the Broncos sit at No. 12. Those spots could be notable, as the Raiders — who are believed to be interested in Penix — sit at No. 13. The Patriots taking this route would bring controversy, given their chances of bringing Maye or McCarthy to Foxborough at 3. But they would add at least a 2025 first-round pick (and almost definitely more) if they moved the pick to Minnesota or Denver. The Giants are also believed to be interested in moving up, with Maye-New York buzz increasing over the past several days. The Pats would not collect as much if they dropped from 3 to 6, however.

Jonathan Kraft is believed to have advised against his father moving on from Belichick after the 2022 season, but the team powered forward with that separation — amid a feud between the accomplished HC and Robert Kraft — after a 4-13 season. Whichever way the Patriots go in this year’s first round, it certainly seems like the younger Kraft will have a notable say in the matter.

Broncos HC Sean Payton Prepared To “Mortgage Future” To Trade Up For QB?

Broncos GM George Paton recently conceded that he would be prepared to part with future first-round draft picks to trade up from the No. 12 overall selection in this year’s draft if such a move allows him to select a franchise quarterback. We have also heard that while head coach Sean Payton is naturally interested in a trade-up for a QB, the club may ultimately choose to trade down to accumulate more assets; after all, thanks to the trades bringing Russell Wilson and Payton to Denver, the Broncos have not made a first-round selection since 2021 and do not have a second-round choice this year.

Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.com, however, hears that Payton is not merely willing to contemplate a move up the board. The former Super Bowl-winning HC — who narrowly missed out on drafting Patrick Mahomes in 2017 when the Chiefs moved up 17 spots to leapfrog the Payton-led Saints to land the future star — is reportedly prepared to “mortgage the franchise’s future” to acquire one of the top passer prospects in the 2024 class.

The near miss on Mahomes has, according to Pauline’s sources, left a sour taste in Payton’s mouth, and he is looking to right past wrongs. Given that the teams holding the top three selections in this year’s draft have the need to add blue chip signal-callers of their own, the Cardinals’ No. 4 overall choice is perhaps the highest pick the Broncos could theoretically acquire. Arizona is certainly open for business, but it is unclear just how far down the board the team would be willing to go, and the same can be said of the Chargers, who hold the No. 5 pick and who may not want to give a division rival the opportunity to draft a franchise QB.

It is certainly possible that Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake Maye will be taken with the first three picks of the draft and will therefore be unavailable for the Broncos. Per Pauline, that would suit Payton just fine, as he is said to have his eyes set on Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. McCarthy’s blend of intelligence and ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly is particularly appealing to Payton, perhaps because it reminds him so much of longtime charge Drew Brees.

Of course, this is hardly the first time that the Broncos have been rumored to be interested in trading up for a quarterback. All of the earlier reports to that effect have noted how costly such an endeavor would be, and Pauline acknowledges that Denver’s package would need to include at least one future first-rounder, the No. 12 pick this year, and cornerback Patrick Surtain II. Pauline himself said back in February that the heavy cost of jumping up the draft board would likely preclude the Broncos from doing so, and that the team would only deal Surtain as a last resort.

It seems that much has changed in the past couple of months, with Payton now prepared to do whatever it takes to nab a prospect like McCarthy. We learned just last week that the Broncos may be more receptive to the notion of trading Surtain than they were at last season’s trade deadline, and Pauline’s report is consistent with that line of thinking.

If Denver is ultimately unable to jump up the board, Payton & Co. would content themselves with Oregon’s Bo Nix as Plan B. A recent projection suggested that the Ravens, who hold the No. 30 overall pick, may be willing to deal that selection to the Broncos, who would use it to select Nix. A subsequent report indicated that Baltimore is not, in fact, looking to move out of the first round, though the right offer can of course change draft plans in a hurry.

Only a small percentage of Pauline’s sources believe the Broncos would select Nix with their No. 12 choice. That stands to reason in light of a recent report from Ari Meirov of The33rdTeam.com, who hears from league executives that Nix is more of a Day 2 prospect.

J.J. McCarthy Latest: Giants, Jones, Vikings, Patriots

Insistent they have not given up on Daniel Jones, the Giants have still put in plenty of work on drafting his potential replacement. Holding the No. 6 overall pick, the Giants may need to move up to land the passer of their choice.

One such passer may be losing steam with regards to being the target of a trade-up maneuver. The Giants do not appear to be in lockstep on being ready to trade up for J.J. McCarthy, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano tweets. The Giants have met with McCarthy and put him through a separate workout.

They been linked to the Michigan passer for a while, but it is possible — barring, of course, a smokescreen effort is in the works — the extensive homework has led to the team determining the fast-rising QB is not who they would want. On the subject of smokescreens, multiple late-March reports point to the Giants indeed being interested in McCarthy. One suggested many around the NFL believe the ex-Wolverines standout would be Big Blue’s target.

This Giants pre-draft process, from Jones’ murky future to their QB-or-WR decision, has become quite confusing. Vacchiano expects the Giants to stay at No. 6 and draft a wide receiver; they brought in this class’ top three options for visits in March.

Recent ties to Drake Maye have come out of New York, and it is possible the team has the North Carolina prospect — who has resided on or near the top QB tier much longer than McCarthy — graded higher. Adding to this, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah said recently (h/t Big Blue View) if the Vikings are not the McCarthy team near the top of the draft, he does not necessarily know who would be.

The Vikings, of course, would need to trade up from No. 11 to move within striking distance of this draft’s top QBs. They appear ready to do so. Minnesota’s desired QB is not known, though GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said the team would be OK with multiple options in this draft, calling this a “very deep class.” The Vikings, however, only have a placeholder QB — in Sam Darnold — while the Giants have Jones signed through 2026.

Year 1 of Jones’ second contract went poorly, even before the ACL tear, leading to this exhaustive research effort on locating a potential replacement. The Giants can break free of Jones’ contract with less than $12MM in dead money — in the event of a post-June 1 cut — next year. While Giants GM Joe Schoen called a report of the team having Jones buyer’s remorse “not true,” Jeremiah added during a recent TV appearance he believes the Giants are doing entirely too much work on QBs for the team to be committed to Jones moving forward.

Jeremiah suggested a Patriots-Giants swap, indicating the Patriots — who are believed to be high on McCarthy — could get what they want by moving down. That said, the Pats sliding from 3 to 6 would leave them vulnerable to missing out on the draft’s top four arms. The Cardinals and Chargers have both indicated they are open to trading out of Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, and Los Angeles has already entered talks about moving down. This complicates matters for the QB-needy (or QB-curious, in the Giants’ case) teams outside the top four.

Coming off a national championship, McCarthy has seen his accuracy, leadership and run in Jim Harbaugh‘s pro-style system move him up the board during the pre-draft process. Though, he has also been docked for lower-octane numbers when compared to the other QBs at or near the top of the 2024 crop. It still seems like McCarthy will end up on the Patriots, Giants, Vikings or Broncos, as Jeremiah does not see him sliding past No. 12 (Denver’s slot). But the Giants may not be the favorite to come away from this draft with the 21-year-old prospect.

‘Heavy Expectation’ Broncos Draft QB In First Round

Operating with Rams-level disregard for first-round picks over the previous two offseasons, the Broncos traded three Round 1 selections in the Russell Wilson and Sean Payton swaps. The team does not have a second-round pick this year as a result of the latter move. As quarterback-needy teams’ draft arsenals are stacked up, the Broncos’ war chest is limited.

Denver holds the No. 12 overall pick, and while it retains its first- and second-rounders beyond this year, Minnesota and Las Vegas are in better position regarding draft capital. Both the Vikings and Raiders also identified clear bridge options for 2024, with Sam Darnold and Gardner Minshew coming off the free agency board early. This certainly leaves the Broncos with work to do, unless they truly are OK with Jarrett Stidham starting a sizable chunk of the 2024 season.

Teams are obviously monitoring the Broncos as a team interested in a QB, and the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora indicates a heavy expectation exists the AFC West club will draft a passer at some point in Round 1.

Options to do so would range from trading up — and parting with a major asset package — to making sure either Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. comes to Colorado via a No. 12 investment. Option three would involve attempting to both grab one of those passers later in the round while picking up some assets by moving down. It could be a complicated night for the Broncos, who are set to eat more than $50MM of Wilson’s record-setting $85MM in dead money this year.

It cost the 49ers two future first-round picks and a third-rounder to move from No. 12 to No. 3 for Trey Lance in 2021. For the Broncos to consider a similar package to climb into the top three would shove them into Rams territory. While Los Angeles famously did not made a first-round pick from 2017-23, that team reaped rewards for the bevy of moves out of Round 1. The Wilson trade burned the Broncos, and making another big move because the 2022 swap failed would deprive the franchise of opportunities to add high-end talent at low costs. Given the dead money from the Wilson contract, the Broncos need cost-controlled assets — even though they also need a quarterback.

On this note, NFL.com’s Peter Schrager adds the team would love to move into the top four to draft a QB but, due to the cost of such a move, stops short of predicting they will do this. Denver also possesses needs at cornerback opposite Patrick Surtain and perhaps at edge rusher.

Unless the Broncos want to entertain a Surtain trade — something one GM informed La Canfora they could be willing to do, given the rumblings at the 2023 trade deadline — future draft capital would need to be used to climb up the draft board. The Broncos are eyeing a long-term Surtain extension, and they wanted at least two first-rounders for the All-Pro cornerback in the fall. A separate GM, however, said the Broncos were more likely to hang onto Surtain due to Payton not viewing this as a long-term rebuild project.

Both the Broncos and Vikings were mentioned as having done early work on QBs (with regards to moving up) back in February, but Minnesota acquiring No. 23 overall from Houston has led to far more buzz on the NFC North team moving up. Still, a recent offering from ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler reveals multiple teams believe the Broncos or Vikings could loom as destinations for J.J. McCarthy. The Michigan alum looks to have rocketed up the draft board during the pre-draft process, impressing at his pro day after winning a national championship.

A fit in Payton’s scheme points to the Denver tie, Fowler adds. McCarthy could be the target for teams outside the top four, with the Cardinals making it known they are willing to trade down. It would cost the Broncos at least one future first and perhaps two. That will be a big decision to make, as Payton’s choice to re-enter the coaching ranks would see a radically adjusted arc if the team he ended up with sacrifices more future firsts as his tenure takes shape. The Broncos did host McCarthy on a “30” visit this year.

While Payton famously said the Saints were eyeing Patrick Mahomes as a Drew Brees heir apparent in 2017, a move to secure the Broncos a potential long-term option — unless the Nix ties prove genuine — could be quite costly. This will be an interesting team to watch in the coming days and once the draft starts.

QB Prospect Notes: Williams, Patriots, Commanders, Giants

Caleb Williams is still expected to hear his name called first during next week’s draft, but the USC quarterback didn’t make the best impression on teams during the pre-draft process. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Williams’ interviews with teams were described as “good, not great” and “just OK.”

As Fowler notes, Williams declined medical exams and only did a handful of interviews, where he didn’t show the same poise and preparation as his fellow QB prospects. Naturally, some teams assumed this was a “byproduct of being a player who knows he’s going No. 1.” While Williams’ pre-draft strategy wasn’t considered a personality red flag by scouts, one AFC executive believes Williams left the door open for the Bears to pivot.

“I don’t think he’s had a great spring,” the executive told Fowler. “He’s still going first. That’s pretty much a done deal. But while he was a no-brainer three months ago, there’s at least a conversation now. Even still, I think he’s a smart kid, a good kid. He just knows where he’s going.”

Perhaps partly due to Williams’ offseason showing, there are some coaches who have actually graded LSU’s Jayden Daniels over the USC QB, per Adam Caplan of ProFootballNetwork.com. Of course, the only opinion that matters belongs to the Bears, but this recent grading adjustment at least leads Caplan to surmise that Daniels will be selected ahead of North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

While Maye is an underdog to be selected in the top-two, it’s no longer a guarantee that he’s even chosen with the third-overall pick. As Albert Breer of SI.com notes, there’s a “healthy debate” in New England between Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. While there’s still a chance the Patriots trade out of the No. 3 spot in pursuit of future picks, Breer believes owner Robert Kraft “views this as a rare chance to get a quarterback at this level.” The organization has certainly made it clear they’re eyeing all of the top-tier prospects, as the Patriots have met with Daniels, Maye, and McCarthy.

Washington is currently sitting with the second-overall pick, and they’ve been equally active in scouting QB prospects. Interestingly, the team will be hosting all of Daniels, Maye, McCarthy, and Washington’s Michael Penix for their top-30 visits at the same time, per Breer. This stems from GM Adam Peters‘ experience from San Francisco, where the 49ers would bring in groupings of prospects to see how they interact with peers.

With the Cardinals and Chargers likely out of the running for a top QB prospect, the Giants are next in line at the position behind Chicago, Washington, and New England. There’s been recent buzz that the Giants could look to move up (per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post) or even move back (per Fowler, via WBG84), but either way, it’s pretty clear the organization is targeting a signal-caller.

Dan Duggan of The Athletic believes the Giants are high enough on Maye that they’d swing a trade up the draft board. The writer also believes the organization isn’t enamored with McCarthy, perhaps necessitating a trade back if the Michigan QB is there at No. 6. If the Giants do end up trading back, Duggan could see a scenario where the team is actively pursuing Penix or Oregon’s Bo Nix in the back half of the first round.

Patriots Hosting Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

The closer and closer we get to the 2024 NFL Draft, the more certain it seems that a run of quarterbacks will start the event. What continues to be entirely uncertain is the pecking order of passers following USC quarterback Caleb Williams. One popular name who continues to see his stock rise is Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who is set to visit the Patriots over the next two days, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

McCarthy originally entered the pre-draft process as a likely candidate to be selected outside of the first round. The former starter of the reigning College Football Playoff champion Wolverines, McCarthy flew up draft boards as the pre-draft process went on, essentially cementing his status as a likely Day 1 pick. As he’s continued to impress at the NFL scouting combine and Michigan’s pro day, McCarthy’s draft stock has risen even more, making a case not only to be a top-four draft pick, but also to be the No. 2 overall selection after Williams.

Following the Bears’ No. 1 overall pick, the Commanders and Patriots follow at Nos. 2 and 3. McCarthy visited Washington earlier this week, and now he’ll get out to New England for a visit with the Patriots. McCarthy has come a long way from being in danger of falling outside of the first round and is now garnering attention from two teams at the top of this month’s draft.

It’s not all up to McCarthy, though. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels and North Carolina passer Drake Maye have long been in the conversation for the those second and third picks, as well. Maye saw the Commanders and Patriots comprise the largest NFL contingents at his pro day. Daniels, though, is seeming to be the favorite to be picked by Washington. If Daniels is, indeed, the choice at No. 2 overall, this weekend’s trip to New England could do a lot to affect the Patriots’ intentions at No. 3.

Of course, there’s always a chance that the Patriots could choose to trade back out of the third overall selection, not taking Maye, Daniels, or McCarthy, but that’s a very unlikely scenario. According to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston, the price for New England to move out of the top three is likely going to be too high for any team to accomplish a move up into their draft slot.

So, McCarthy’s visit looms large. The 21-year-old will reportedly have dinner tonight with team officials before spending tomorrow in Foxborough for his visit. He’ll be the last out of himself, Daniels, and Maye to meet with the team, but if he can leave the best, lasting impression, he could find himself as the preferred option at No. 3, if he doesn’t get chosen by Washington at No. 2, of course.

QB J.J. McCarthy To Visit Commanders

The Commanders are projected to select a quarterback second overall, but three candidates are in place to become the team’s next franchise passer. By the time the draft takes place, all three will have made a visit to the nation’s capital.

[POLL: How Will Commanders Proceed At No. 2?]

Washington will meet with J.J. McCarthy next week, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz. He adds the same is also true of Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye, both of whose ‘top 30’ visits have previously been reported. Considering every signal-caller not named Caleb Williams will likely be on the board when the Commanders make their selection, it comes as no surprise the team is evaluating each option at the position.

McCarthy entered the pre-draft process as part of the second tier of passers behind the Williams-Maye-Daniels trio. The Michigan product has seen his stock soar in recent weeks, however, owing in large part to an impressive showing at his Pro Day. A report from last month indicated McCarthy could be in play at second overall, and Washington’s interest in an in-person visit certainly suggests that is still the case.

Helping lead the Wolverines to an undefeated season and a national title, McCarthy was not leaned on heavily by Michigan’s run-first offense. His performances in workouts along with his age (21) has led to strong projections based on his upside, though. As is the case with Daniels and Maye, opinions are split amongst NFL evaluators regarding where McCarthy should (and will) end up being selected later this month.

A survey of various active and former general managers, scouts, coaches and ex-players who are now analysts conducted by The Athletic’s Ben Standig slotted McCarthy as the class’ fourth-best quarterback (subscription required). Two of those who were polled ranked him second overall, however, and it will be interesting to see which assessments match the one ultimately made by Commanders’ new regime.

First-year general manager Adam Peters, new head coach Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury will be key players in the decision-making process at No. 2 overall. Washington has Marcus Mariota in place, but a rookie selected with the team’s top pick would have the chance to earn the starting gig right away. Passers with more college experience will be on the board when the time comes to make a selection, but McCarthy will nevertheless receive consideration.