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2024 NFL Draft: Potential trade partners if Patriots move No. 3 pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The best way for the New England Patriots to become a Super Bowl contender again is finding a franchise quarterback, and the best way to do that is to acquire one high in the draft.

The Patriots own the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and there are four Tier 1 quarterbacks in this year’s class — USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. Any one of these players could be the next great Patriots quarterback.

And if you look at the best teams in the league, most of them have a quarterback who was a first-round pick. In fact, seven of the eight teams that reached the Divisional Round of the playoffs last season had a quarterback selected in Round 1, including the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes.

But there are some good arguments for trading down, stockpiling more draft picks, and building your roster that way. If the Patriots do trade the No. 3 pick, who are the potential trade partners?

Here are four that make sense.

The Vikings need a quarterback after losing Kirk Cousins in free agency.

They have a very good left tackle in Christian Darrisaw, the best wide receiver in the league in Justin Jefferson and a good No. 2 wideout in Jordan Addison. Minnesota also has an offensive-minded head coach in Kevin O’Connell, who was a former NFL quarterback.

Simply put: It’s a good situation for a rookie QB.

The Vikings acquired the No. 23 pick from the Houston Texans earlier this month. It gave the Vikings two first-round picks at No. 11 and No. 23. They have the ammo to move into the top 10. What would the Vikings need to part with to move up to No. 3?

NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry and ESPN’s Matt Miller both published recent mock drafts where the Vikings acquired No. 3 from the Patriots in exchange for picks No. 11 and No. 23, plus a 2025 first-rounder. That would be a pretty significant haul for the Patriots and maybe one they couldn’t refuse.

“The Minnesota Vikings and the Las Vegas Raiders both seem very eager to trade up, and it sounds like there could be a competition between those two, especially if Daniels is still there at No. 3 and the Patriots decide not to take him,” ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote Tuesday.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders could stick with Aidan O’Connell, who showed some potential as a rookie last season. But in a tough division, it’s hard to see the Raiders making the playoffs without a quarterback upgrade. And they have a pretty good offense, too, highlighted by the wide receiver combo of Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, plus tight end Michael Mayer.

What would it cost the Raiders to move up to No. 3?

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah addressed this question during his pre-Scouting Combine conference call with reporters last month. He projected it would cost the Raiders the 13th overall pick this year, first- and third-round picks in 2025 and a first-round pick in 2026.

The Raiders are not a well-run franchise. They have made the playoffs just twice (2016 and 2021) in the last 21 seasons. If the Patriots made this kind of trade, those picks from the Raiders probably would end up being pretty valuable.

The Broncos own the No. 12 pick in the first round. Is trading up a realistic scenario for them?

“I think that’s realistic,” head coach Sean Payton told reporters at the Annual League Meeting earlier this week.

The Broncos don’t own their 2024 second-round pick, so that might make it hard for them to move up. They do own all their Day 1 and Day 2 picks in 2025, though.

Denver has Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci on its quarterback depth chart right now. That’s not good enough to compete in the AFC, and in particular the AFC West. The Broncos need an upgrade at quarterback, but a lot of other teams have better assets to offer the Patriots.

Will the Giants move on from Daniel Jones despite giving him a lucrative contract not long ago? The Giants own the No. 6 pick, which is probably not high enough to get any of the four Tier 1 quarterbacks noted in the intro above.

“A lot of people think the Giants’ guy is J.J. McCarthy, and if so, the question is whether they can sit at No. 6 and take him or whether they might need to trade up a spot or two,” Graziano wrote Tuesday.

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Jeremiah, in his pre-scouting combine conference call last month, projected the Giants would need to give up the No. 6 pick, two 2024 second-rounders (Nos. 39 and 47) and a 2025 second-round pick to acquire No. 3 from the Patriots.

“I would not rule that out,” Jeremiah said. “I know you’ve got one more year of Daniel Jones before they can kind of get out of that contract, but I think that would be something that would be very much in play.”

If the Patriots moved down to No. 6, they might still be able to take the top offensive tackle (Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, as Phil Perry projected in a recent mock draft) or one of the elite wideouts available (Malik Nabers, Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, etc.). They could then use the extra second-round picks to address multiple positions or trade back in the first round if a player they like falls a bit.

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