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Robert Kraft would like to see Patriots draft "top-rate, young quarterback" but team is open to dealing No. 3 pick

BOSTON -- The New England Patriots will be drafting a quarterback a month from now, and Robert Kraft is hoping that quarterback will lead the franchise to glory for years to come. But when the Patriots draft that quarterback will not be up to the owner.

Kraft held court with reporters down in Orlando, Florida at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday, and went back and forth between being "Robert Kraft, Patriots owner" and "Robert Kraft, Patriots fan." But no matter which hat he wears, Kraft is going to let the football minds in New England make the football decisions when picks start flying off the board on April 25.

With the third overall pick, New England is in a good spot to land one of the top passers available this year. Caleb Williams is expected to go first overall to the Chicago Bears, but no one knows what the Washington Commanders will do at No. 2. Washington also needs a quarterback and are reportedly high on LSU's Jayden Daniels, which could leave UNC's Drake Maye available for the Patriots at third overall. There are also rumblings that Michigan's J.J. McCarthy is rocketing up draft boards, and could be a potential selection for the Commanders.

There's also the chance that with several other holes on the roster -- most notably at left tackle and wide receiver -- the Patriots could trade out of that third selection and acquire more picks to fill other needs. That would likely mean taking a quarterback later in the draft.

There is a lot that is unknown with the Patriots and the quarterback position right now, but Kraft is confident that the team will be adding a talented player no matter where they pick. 

"You know, I guess as a fan, I put my fan hat on and I definitely would [like us to draft a quarterback.] In the end, you can't win in this league consistently unless you have a first-rate quarterback and a first-rate coach," Kraft told reporters. "On the other hand, you're in a different position. We've never been in the third draft position since we've owned the team, and what happens a lot of people behind are really desperate to move up. 

"So we're gonna be open to whatever can come our way," Kraft added. "But in the end, I'll let the team make the decision what they think is best. One way or another, I'd like to see us get a top-rate, young quarterback."

During his chat with reporters on Monday, head coach Jerod Mayo gave a rave review on Maye, whom he'll get an up-close look at on Friday when Mayo and the New England brass attends UNC's pro day. The Patriots' brain trust will be in Louisiana on Thursday to check out Daniels at LSU's pro day.

The Patriots obviously failed quarterback Mac Jones, whom they traded away this offseason for a late-round pick after drafting him 15th overall just three years ago. While Jones had his own issues, the team did him no favors with a revolving door of offensive coordinators, including the failed experiment of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as his lead offensive coaches in 2022. 

Kraft believes that the Patriots are in a much better spot to develop a young quarterback. 

"Definitely. I think Alex Van Pelt has had great experience. I don't think the last couple of years how we handled the offense -- speaking as a fan -- was the kind of approach we wanted," said Kraft. "Look, one way or another, we know at some point we're gonna get a young quarterback who will be gifted. And fortunately there's a number of them in this draft, and where we take that position will depend on what comes to us. But I hope our personnel people do a good job in that area and I really believe we have the coaching to support that."

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