Latest Patriots draft rumors could be very good news for the Raiders

Well well WELL.
NFL Combine
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If you were resigned to the idea of the Raiders potentially hemorrhaging their next two drafts in order to take the 4th best QB this year, I've got wonderful news for you: maybe not?

Of course, it's the Raiders, so anything's possible. But for most of this Draft SZN, it's been widely assumed that the first three picks – belonging to the Bears, Commanders, and Patriots – will all be quarterbacks. That'd leave a handful of teams, which includes the Raiders, all jockeying for the right to trade up and take either JJ McCarthy or Michael Penix.

But here's a fun twist! In a recent interview that Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo did with ESPN, Mayo seemed to cast some doubt on the idea that taking a QB at three was a sure thing:

“Remember, Caserio had been building that team for [two] years before they got C.J. Stroud in that position,” Mayo said. “So when you look at our team, I’m not asking for patience, but I kind of am. It’s a process. It’s not only about the quarterback. Obviously you want to have that QB1 and build around him, but it doesn’t always happen when you want it.”

"Look, we could bring a QB in here and he may not be ready to play, realistically. That's why we have a guy like Jacoby [Brissett] coming along. Jacoby is great. He can still play football and also mentor someone in that room, and he has a connection to that offense with [Alex] Van Pelt, so he can always be that teacher. That's how we're looking at it."

Well then. That'd certainly be a fun draft night twist. If either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels fell past three, it's not impossible to imagine a world where they keep sliding all the way to 11, where the Vikings – who, unfortunately for Vegas, also need a QB – are picking. But if the Raiders swooped in at the, say, 7-8-9 range? Where all three teams (Tennessee, Atlanta, Chicago) don't need a QB and would probably love another first rounder next year? That's a scenario where The Big Swing wouldn't feel quite as desperate.

It may very well be the 10 billionth example of a team playing coy with their plans in the final weeks before the Draft, but if it's not, the Raiders may have just found their window to pounce. And really, can you put a price on ending the Gardner Minshew-Aidan O'Connell debate once and for all?