April 16, 2024

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Could QB Jayden Daniels fall to the Patriots at No. 3 overall?

Could QB Jayden Daniels fall to the Patriots at No. 3 overall?

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts – Quick thoughts and notes about the New England Patriots and the NFL:

1. Dynamic Daniels: When Patriots coach Jerrod Mayo envisions how 2024 NFL Draft — which owner Robert Kraft described as the most predictable of his 31-year tenure — as it unfolds, he sees the Leaders as the wild card.

The Patriots had the No. 3 pick, the highest ever under Kraft. Leaders at No. 2.

“I don't think anyone knows exactly what Washington is going to do. I think everyone knows what Chicago is going to do at one o'clock. But the rest of it, frankly, is still up in the air,” Mayo said.

Mayo is like many who assume the Bears will select a USC quarterback Caleb Williams In first place. He's preparing for multiple scenarios next, and if the buzz from the NFL's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., last week is any indication, so are the leaders.

Part of the reason Washington's new regime, led by general manager Adam Peters and coach Dan Quinn, attends LSU's quarterback pro days Jayden Daniels And North Carolina quarterback Drake May Last week — just as the Patriots' top decision-makers did — they say they're still undecided about their plans.

Many see Daniels and Maye as the most likely options to go at No. 2 and No. 3, and if Daniels is somehow there with the Patriots, his first college coach believes that would be the ultimate coup.

“If I was picking No. 1, I'd go with Jayden Daniels. Maybe I'm a little biased because I know the kid,” said Herm Edwards, who hired Daniels as a recruit to Arizona State in 2019 and coached him for three years. Seasons before Daniels transferred to LSU.

“When he came to us, all he wanted was that he wanted to be three [years] And it's over. So I told him: Look, you have to gain more weight. You need more reps. So the great part is that's when he decided to leave [to LSU] — He came into my office and I hugged him and said, 'You gotta go.' — He's now played 56 college football games. That's a lot of tape and that helps him.”

Daniels upped his game in 2023 to win the Heisman Trophy, completing 72.2% of his passes, finishing 236-of-327 for 3,812 yards with 40 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He added 1,134 yards on 135 carries (8.4 YPC) with 10 touchdowns.

In some ways, Edwards compares Daniels' skill set to his final season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1985, when the team was on the cusp of transitioning from pocket pass-catcher Ron Jaworski to Randall Cunningham.

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“When Randall got there, it was like, ‘Whoa, look at this guy.’ “He was an athlete who could run and he could throw the ball too, especially in the outfield,” he said. That's what Jayden does.”

“This is a guy who goes off script and can make plays that the defense can't defend, that they haven't seen. That's the hardest thing when you have a quarterback like that — you can't script what he's going to do. You don't know, because he doesn't know, even He sees it with his own eyes and says, 'Okay, I've got to get out of here and make a play.'

One question scouts have about Daniels is whether his tight end game and frame is built to last in the NFL as he may be vulnerable to more contact. Daniels did not take official measurements at the NFL combine in February, choosing to wait until LSU's pro day last Wednesday, where he was measured at 6-foot-3 5/8 and 210 pounds — which may be heavier than he played. Weight at LSU. In contrast, Maye stood at 6 feet 4 3/8 and weighed 223 pounds.

When Daniels first arrived at Arizona State, he weighed 189 pounds, Edwards said. He's watched Daniels grow since then — in more ways than one.

“I had him when he was 18. He's 23 now, so he's young and understands the quarterback position. He's played in the SEC the last two years and they haven't beaten him. He's been in every game.” “He's that kind of guy,” Edwards said.

Specific to the Patriots, Mayo said some of the things he will look for when evaluating quarterbacks is how they learn and handle adversity. He also coined the phrase “adding culture” noting the importance of assessing their leadership style and personal character.

For this part, Edwards believes Daniels will not only bring exciting play, but also be a consistent presence.

“He's outgoing, but he's not loud. He's really quiet. He's not a confrontational guy, like you saw with Tom Brady. He's the kind of guy that comes in and talks to guys and settles things down. When it's hot and it's hot,” it's hard, there's no panic in that Dude.”

2. Brady Night: The greatest player in Patriots history deserves the greatest send-off, and plans are moving forward for an unprecedented Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Tom Brady inside Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. ET.

Next week, Patriots season ticket members will be sent ticket information and will be given preferred pricing for the event through April 12. If there is stock remaining after the pre-sale, it will be made available to the general public later in April. . “For long-time New England sports fans, this looks like it could be similar to a historic event.”Larry Bird Night” in 1993.

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3. Highsmith’s role: Last Monday, Mayo relayed something recently hired top executive Alonzo Highsmith told him based on his front office experience with the Packers (2012-2017), Browns (2018-2019), and Seahawks (2020-2022).

“He said all the bad picks he saw, it was really a case where everyone wasn't on the same page. You hope you can get everyone on the same page — coaches and scouts as well. If you have one person drafting, that's not the case.” [good]… We have scouts in all fields where everyone has different opinions,” Mayo said. So you want to start hearing those words, but at some point you're going to have to narrow down the group and come to common ground. “It was close.”

Two days later, Highsmith He was among The Patriots' squad is made up of nine scouts and coaches from Daniels and May's pro days — a reflection of his status as a top assistant to scouting director Elliott Wolfe and May, as well as how the Patriots try to achieve that alignment.

4. “Regime Change”: One theme of Kraft's remarks at the NFL's annual meeting — which shed more light on his decision-making process with Mayo — was his view on “how systems have changed” over the past 10 to 15 years. This topic was also brought up during Kraft's appearance on “the shop“, the show stars LeBron James and businessman Maverick Carter, who have conversations and debates in a barbershop.

“In the last decade, players walking into the locker room have been different,” Kraft said as he sat next to Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams. “So how do you deal with them, how do you communicate with them…I guess [Mayo] “You can relate to young people today.”

Adams, who is entering his 11th NFL season, agreed with the general point, saying: “For a team to realize and reach its full potential, you need someone who wants to play for them. You see a difference.” [from when I came into the league] …the way you speak to them, the speech or understanding with which you treat them; When you have guys who have lived it a little bit [as players] “You can open up a little bit of something with a few players.”

5. The perfect DMac draft: Patriots contract Preview the annual draft for season ticket members Saturday at Gillette Stadium, with former safety and current NBC “Football Night in America” ​​analyst Devin McCourty serving on the panel and as an interviewer for Mayo and college scouting director Camryn Williams.

One highlight came when McCourty described his ideal draft for the team, which elicited an audible cheer from the crowd of several thousand: “As much as I like defense, I'd love to see first round/offense, second round/offense,” third round/offense. Just keep rolling and start attacking! This is where it is needed most.”

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6. Training week: Mayo stressed the importance of next week to his coaching staff, and how coaches are making a big transition from draft preparation to the X's and O's that will emerge during the season. The Patriots would have begun their voluntary offseason program on Monday, but Mayo chose to wait until April 8 so he could focus on personnel.

“I want to dedicate this week to the coaches, because right now we are not exploring much,” he said. “We've hired 17 new coaches. It's a balance between having those guys and learning our offense and defense, and teaching the other coaches.”

7. Rise of Rigor? With the NFL adopting a new rule to promote more kickoff returns, it could boost Jalen Reagor's chances of remaining on the roster as a depth-based receiver. Reagor had one of four NFL kickoff returns for a touchdown last season (98 yards vs. Buffalo). Overall, the Patriots have just 18 kickoff returns in 2023. In a reflection of how low their number of kickoff returns has been, consider that from 2000 to 2009, the Patriots averaged 61.2 kickoff returns per season . From 2010 to 2019, their average was 34.6.

8. They said that: “They were great [conversations]; Coach Mayo, he talked there with new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, and learned their stuff. Such a historic program and team and history there in New England, so just getting a chance to get to know them, what they do, and their champion mentality of going back to the glory days, was great. ” — Maye, at his pro day Thursday, in a meeting with the Patriots

9. Pre-season plans: Nothing has been finalized, but the buzz at the NFL's annual meeting makes it likely that the Patriots will host the first two games of the preseason, before traveling in Week 3. Preseason games can lack excitement, but if the Patriots select a quarterback at third, it could spark more interest in them because that prospect will likely play a significant amount of the game.

10. Did you know: Mayo (first round) and Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell (third round) were part of the Patriots' 2008 draft class; These signs Only for the second time In the common draft era, the team selected two players from the same class to become head coaches. The Bears' 1981 class, with Mike Singletary (2nd round) and Jeff Fisher (7th), was another.