Could the Patriots trade the No. 3 draft pick in Round 1?

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. What’s in the ‘bag’? Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently referred to the No. 3 draft pick as an advantageous position because teams behind New England could be “really desperate” to move up, and thus top decision-maker Eliot Wolf will be open to listening to trade offers.

First-year coach Jerod Mayo put his spin on it, saying if someone offers “a bag,” the Patriots would “definitely have to talk about it.”

So what would have to be in the bag? Former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman (2012-21) has an idea of what he would require if trading down.

“I know if any team is coming up to No. 3, they’re coming up to get a premium position. So I’m going to squeeze them for everything I can,” said Spielman, who is now an analyst for CBS Sports and the podcast “With The First Pick.”

“And if I need a quarterback, too, as New England does, then the deal better be pretty rich for me to pass up one of these quarterbacks and move down. They would have to pay above a premium.”

Using the Vikings as an example, Spielman opined that two 2024 first-round picks (No. 11 and No. 23), a 2025 first-round pick and a future second-round pick would be the starting point.

But even that might not be enough for the Patriots, who likely won’t want to move too far down the board and also could prefer to see an established veteran as part of any package, similar to how the Bears acquired receiver DJ Moore from the Panthers last year — along with 2023 first- and second-round picks, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2025 second-rounder — in the deal for the No. 1 pick.

In landing Moore, who was already established after five seasons in the NFL, the Bears eliminated the unknown that comes with any draft pick.

Along those lines, the “pipe dream” for the Patriots, per Spielman, would be the Vikings trading receiver Justin Jefferson as part of a package that includes multiple first-round picks. Or maybe starting left tackle Christian Darrisaw.

Receiver and left tackle are two of the Patriots’ top needs, alongside quarterback, and the latter is why former Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik (2009-13) isn’t sure any trade — other than a blockbuster in the pipe dream category — would be worth it for New England.

“It depends on what you really think of the quarterbacks that you have a chance to select. Because if you feel Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy is the guy — having three 1s or the right quarterback, I’d rather have the right quarterback,” said Dominik, now a Sirius XM NFL and college football analyst.

“The reality is that you have to find that position. Especially where the Patriots are sitting right now — with Tua [Tagovailoa], Aaron [Rodgers] and Josh [Allen]; wow, that’s going to be an uphill battle in the division. So that being said, I just don’t think it’s a bag you can open — unless you just don’t like these [top] quarterbacks.”

And therein lies the primary mystery with the Patriots and director of scouting Wolf, who has final personnel authority. What do they really think of the top quarterbacks?

“Maybe in their world, they’d be just as happy to pull [Oregon’s] Bo Nix at the bottom of the first or top of the second because that’s the guy they really like,” Dominik said. “The most important part is the quarterback spot, and if they trade down and get all these other players, [veteran projected QB starter] Jacoby Brissett is a good dude but it’s probably 5-12, 4-13 — that kind of season. I don’t know if anybody can afford that right now; especially if one of these [top] quarterbacks pops, it’s going to be the decision you didn’t make.”

2. J.J. in mix: Dominik has studied the quarterbacks and sees a more significant gap from McCarthy to Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. than he does from Daniels and Maye to McCarthy. That’s why he includes McCarthy in the conversation alongside Daniels and Maye near the top of the draft.

“He’s been in a pro system and he’s handled all the different things you have to, and he’s done what he’s supposed to do. One thing that really stands out is he doesn’t turn the ball over,” he said. “He’s also been under tough coaching and responded, which I think that’s a huge piece.”

3. Offseason bonding: The Patriots concluded the first week of their voluntary offseason program, with captain Hunter Henry noting it’s an ideal time to come together as a team.

“I love this time of year. It’s just a time for us to build relationships and camaraderie as a team, to come together,” said Henry, who enters his ninth NFL season.

One way some players and coaches did so Friday night was attending the Celtics’ win over the Hornets at TD Garden as a group.

4. Jones’ rehab: Veteran starting cornerback Jonathan Jones recently posted an Instagram story of him lying in a hospital bed, but his presence this past week for the start of the team’s voluntary offseason program reflects that it wasn’t anything of major concern that should affect his availability for the start of the regular season. Jones underwent a clean-up procedure on his knee, according to a source, which is why he’s currently focusing more on rehabilitation.

5. Judon’s presence: Through his first three years with the Patriots, outside linebacker Matthew Judon hasn’t been a consistent attendee of the team’s voluntary offseason program. But he was there this past week.

For those who have wondered why Judon has never been elected a team captain, my feeling has been that absences in the spring have been a factor, as he hasn’t been around as much in the offseason to lead. Perhaps that changes in 2024 — a time in which Judon seeks an adjusted contract ($6.5 million base salary) as he aims to return from a torn biceps that limited him to four games last season.

6. Dugger’s rush: When assessing why safety Kyle Dugger, who earned a four-year, $58 million extension, is a good fit for the Patriots, consider this from ESPN Stats & Information: In 2023, the Patriots rushed their defensive backs at the second-highest rate in the NFL (19%), and Dugger produced 14 pressures.

Since entering the NFL in 2020, Dugger’s 30 quarterback pressures are tied for fourth most among primary defensive backs — behind Jamal Adams (50), L’Jarius Sneed (35) and Budda Baker (34).

7. Gonz0: Second-year cornerback Christian Gonzalez‘s switch from jersey No. 6 to No. 0 comes with a price. As part of NFL policy, players have to buy out existing inventory if they want to make the switch prior to the upcoming season.

There would be no such provision if Gonzalez said he wanted to change to 0 in 2025 and wore his current No. 6 for the upcoming season.

8. They said it: “It’s not only that he has talent to evaluate. It’s a talent to explain what he sees. Some people can evaluate but they can’t articulate what they really see or what they know. He could articulate what he saw, and what he believes, and assess that player the way he felt fit. That’s what I appreciated working with him.” — Former Packers director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie on Eliot Wolf, who is scheduled to hold the NFL’s mandated Patriots pre-draft news conference on Thursday.



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9. Brady touts Rodney: The headline from Tom Brady’s “Deep Cut” podcast with Vic Blends was him saying he wouldn’t be opposed to a late-season return to the NFL, but not to be overlooked was Brady’s answer on the most underrated teammate of his 23-year career. He picked Rodney Harrison.

“To me, one of the greatest football players the league has ever seen and doesn’t get the recognition. He should be in the Hall of Fame. He was as good a competitor, defensive player — smart, tough, physical, f—ing mean out there on the field. I loved it, and I loved playing with him.”

10. Did you know: Patriots eight-year veteran Davon Godchaux is one of only four NFL defensive tackles to have at least 55 total tackles in each of the past three seasons. The others are DeForest Buckner (Colts), Zach Sieler (Dolphins) and Christian Wilkins (previously Dolphins, now Raiders).

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