Patriots Roundup: Mac Jones, Jayden Daniels, Tanner Engstrand plus more team news and buzz

Patriots roundup include Mac Jones, more Jayden Daniels hype, an interesting choice at OC and an early look at NFL free agency.
New York Jets v New England Patriots
New York Jets v New England Patriots / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

As NFL Mocks season has gotten underway, most NFL experts, pundits, fans have the New England Patriots taking a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.  While that will probably happen, one former NFL general manager says the team shouldn’t be quick to give up on Mac Jones.

As the team continues their search for an offensive coordinator, the plight of Jones could depend on whoever fills that vacant position.  If that search leads back to Josh McDaniels, the Patriots could hang onto Mac with hopes he can strive once again under the offensive coordinator that was a part of his rookie success.

Mocks on Patriots: Former NFL executive still putting his money on Mac Jones

Most fans don’t want to fathom the ideas of another season with Mac Jones, but ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik had a case to make in favor of Jones during an appearance on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk Podcast.

"There's no reason to get rid of Mac Jones," Dominik said, via NBC Sports Boston. "If he gets into a game, can we still have a chance to win? Yes, I believe that. Financially, it's a bargain at this point. It's a bargain because I've already eaten the signing bonus, I already know what that is, so now I'm just basically paying the Paragraph 5 (base salary, which for Jones is $2.8 million in 2024). When you look at the world of backup quarterbacks and their salary, you're going to be hard-pressed to do better. And he still wants to prove something. He's got a new staff to prove something and he's still going to be hungry.

"He doesn't want his NFL career to end, so it's not like he's going to be sitting in a corner feeling bad for himself. He knows he's going to have to work, and I think he's got that type of personality. When you talk to Alabama guys, they all love Mac Jones. He's not a bad teammate or a bad guy. From my perspective, I would want that guy on my football team because of the salary cap and the implications of what he can do."

With an improved offensive line and more playmakers around him, can Mac Jones bounce back and have a solid season?  If the team is thinking the way Dominik is thinking, that could mean the team drafts one of the top tackles or Marvin Harrison Jr. with that No. 3 pick and take a quarterback in the second round in hopes of that player pushing or eventually taking over for Jones if he shows no signs of turning his regression into progression.

NFL Draft buzz: More hype surrounding Jayden Daniels

Looking at NFL Mock drafts from various experts and sources, LSU quarterback and Heisman winner Jayden Daniels has been the trending choice for the Patriots to take with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.

NFL Mock Draft: Jayden Daniels
ReliaQuest Bowl - Wisconsin v LSU / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

While Mel Kiper Jr has him going No. 2 overall to the Washington Commanders, the hunger for Daniels is growing throughout Patriots Nations.  The latest to catch Daniels fever is former Patriots tight end and current host of The Greg Hill Show Jermaine Wiggins who has fallen in love with the NFL prospect’s ability to run and overall athleticism.

Here is part of what Wiggins had to say per WEEI:

“Jayden Daniels has the skillset as a runner to be really good, and I think that gives him the edge over Drake Maye when we’re talking about potential ceiling. I’m not saying Drake Maye’s not gonna be a good quarterback, but as a Patriots fan, I’m hoping that New England gets Jayden Daniels.”

In all Wiggins has visions of Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson when he thinks of the Patriots drafting Daniels.

NFL rumors: Patriots looking to interview Lions pass game coordinator Tanner Engstrand

Who will be coaching and calling plays for Mac Jones, Daniel Jones or whoever the quarterback is in New England next season?

While the team is set to interview Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach Nick Caley this upcoming week, another interesting name has surfaced as a target.  According to Ian Rapoport, the Patriots plan to interview Lions pass game coordinator Tanner Engstrand for the offensive coordinator position.

Engstrand, who has worked under both Sean McVay and Jim Harbaugh, is a top candidate for the Lions offensive coordinator job if current OC Ben Johnson gets one of the two head coaching vacancies remaining in the NFL.  If that does not happen, Engstrand will be a hot commodity for an OC job so it is beneficial for the Patriots to jump on the opportunity with the success Engstrand has had with the Lions offense this season. 

NFL free agency notes, tidbits, buzz: Patriots have some money to spend!

Patriots new head coach Jerod Mayo said the team will spend some money on talent this offseason which should make free agency fun for the Patriots.  Looking at some potential free agents, wide receivers Tee Higgins and Mike Evans are high on most fans list, but the Patriots must be smart with how they spend and focus on other areas of the offense like the offensive line and the tight end position as well.

Some in-house pending free agents like Mike Onwenu, Hunter Henry and Kyle Dugger are players they need to try to re-sign.  Other players include Kendrick Bourne and Anfernee Jennings who has come along this season as a solid performer on defense.  So, while bringing in some new talent should be a goal, the Patriots also need to retain some of their young core, which will help the rebuild process for Mayo.