NFL Featured Banner

Eliot Wolf Feels Patriots Can Support a Young QB in “Unique Year” at the Position

The Patriots are one week away from arguably the most important draft in franchise history. As is the case every year, the team held a pre-draft press conference, with de facto general manager Eliot Wolf taking questions from reporters Thursday morning.

The conversation largely centered around New England’s plans for the 3rd overall pick, the current state of the offense, and how the team will address glaring needs at premium positions.

Head coach Jerod Mayo said during the NFL’s annual league meeting that New England would be open to trading their top pick and getting more swings to “put more chips on the table.” When asked about the possibility, Wolf relayed a similar message, saying some trade conversations have already occurred.

“We’re open to anything,” Wolf confirmed. “Moving up, moving down, we’re open for business in the 1st round and in every round. We have some holes we feel like we need to fill in the draft, and we’re a draft and develop team. The more picks we have the better. But if there’s an opportunity to move up and strike if the board recommends it, then we won’t be afraid to pull the trigger on that either.”

Wolf also told reporters he doesn’t feel the Patriots’ top pick has to be a quarterback, which should make Marvin Harrison Jr. fans very happy, but he also called this a unique year for the position.

“I think [hearing how impressive they are as teammates, as people, as leaders] has been impressive with all six of these quarterbacks that are kind of the top guys,” Wolf said, most likely referring to Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr., and Bo Nix.

A popular narrative this offseason has been that New England should trade the 3rd pick because the team isn’t equipped to support a young quarterback. Wolf pushed back on this notion, citing multiple proven NFL veterans currently on the roster.

“I read a lot of that storyline. I’m not really sure what that means,” Wolf said. “We have a solid offensive line. We re-signed Mike Onwenu. We have David Andrews coming back. We have three rookies that we drafted last year that are developing. We signed [Chukwuma] Okorafor from the Steelers. [We have] Hunter Henry, a good running game, a solid foundation, and a solid system in place with Coach Van Pelt on the offense. So I feel like – I definitely feel like we can support [a young quarterback].”

Wolf added that Okorafor would be the team’s starting left tackle if the season started today (it does not), referencing the former Steeler’s time on the blindside in college and calling him a big, athletic guy who the team believes is capable of transitioning back to the left side. Okorafor may not make a Pro Bowl next season, but he’s a good pass protector and solid run blocker with years of starting experience in the league.

When looking at the Patriots’ wide receiver room, there are several Z and slot types who can play off the line of scrimmage, but not many X receivers who can exploit 1-on-1 matchups. Wolf touched on this when asked about the group.

“I think we have players that can line up and play at X. Do we have players that, on a 3×1, can beat the backside coverage every single time? I’m not sure we have that just yet,” Wolf admitted. “But we certainly have good receivers that we’re excited about working with. K.J. Osborne can play all three positions. We have Kendrick Bourne coming back. Pop, JuJu, I mean, the list goes on. We feel like we have NFL receivers.”

Wolf also confirmed that New England has been active in the trade market for receivers and other positions. However, while the de facto general manager acknowledged that the roster is incomplete, he feels the offensive personnel is being underestimated.

“I mean, we have NFL receivers. We have NFL tight ends. We have NFL running backs. We have NFL offensive linemen. We feel good about where we are. And we feel, through free agency, on the offensive side in particular, that we’ve been able to supplement our roster properly, so we’re not having to draft for need as much offensively.”

One of those additions was quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who the team drafted in the 3rd round back in 2016. Brissett has been a career backup and spot starter, but his steady play and experience in Alex Van Pelt’s offense make him an ideal bridge option.

“Yeah, we signed Jacoby because he’s a good player. He’s a big, strong, relentless preparer in terms of his ability to take a game plan and apply it through the week to Sunday. He’s got a good arm. He’s big and strong. And we feel like if we end up drafting a quarterback high, he is someone who can support that player and would be a positive influence on them while competing with them.”

Wolf, Mayo, and the Patriots’ new-look staff have much to prove in what is essentially Year Zero for the rebuilding franchise. But whichever quarterback is taken to lead New England into the future, the organization clearly feels confident in its ability to support and nurture them.

Taylor Kyles

Taylor Kyles is the lead NFL Analyst for CLNS Media covering players, schemes, and tendencies through a New England Patriots-centric lens.

Recent Posts

Celtics vs Pacers Eastern Conference Finals Preview and Predictions

Aaron Nesmith lined up a game-tying attempt from three against the Celtics on Jan. 30 in…

12 hours ago

Observations From Day 1 of Patriots Open OTAs

The Patriots' veterans and rookies took the field today for the first session of organized…

15 hours ago

Rafael Devers Extends Homer Streak to Five Games

The Red Sox lose a series in St Louis to the Cardinals. Joey Copponi and…

16 hours ago

Celtics Praise and a Nuggets-Timberwolves Game 7 | Bob Ryan & Jeff Goodman Podcast

Bob Ryan and Gary Tanguay discuss the Celtics' dominant Game 5 win over the Cleveland…

3 days ago

Joe Mazzulla Says Communication Made Celtics Different This Year

Joe Mazzulla finally addressed a question he and the Celtics’ players mostly shook off all…

3 days ago

Exclusive Interview with WR Specialist Steph Brown

On this episode of the Patriots Daily podcast, Taylor Kyles is joined by wide receiver…

3 days ago