Tom Curran offers glowing first impression of Patriots rookie QB


“He’s got an absolute frickin’ cannon,” NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran said about the Patriots’ sixth-round pick, Joe Milton III.

New England Patriots sixth round quarterback draft pick Joe Milton III walks onto the field during the NFL football team’s rookie minicamp Saturday, May 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Mark Stockwell)

It came as little surprise when the Patriots selected UNC quarterback Drake Maye with their third overall pick at the 2024 NFL Draft. For months, rumors circulated that New England was on the hunt for a young signal-caller to learn the ropes from veteran Jacoby Brissett, who they acquired at the outset of free agency.

Which is why, two days after Maye was picked, fans may have been shocked to hear another quarterback come off the board for the Patriots.

New England selected Tennessee’s Joe Milton III in the middle of the sixth-round of the draft (193rd overall). And while some experts remained skeptical about the pickup, rookie minicamp showcased the 24-year-old’s arm talent.

“He’s got an absolute frickin’ cannon, it is indescribably strong,” NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran said Tuesday. “The arc of the ball – there is none – it just comes out so hot.”

Curran’s observations follow the same tune that other experts sing about Milton. Executive vice president of player personnel Eliot Wolf told Adam Schefter last week that Milton had “too much talent” to pass up. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s offensive coordinator Joey Halzle called his former player “physically the most talented quarterback I’ve been around,” per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Milton, who transferred to Tennessee from Michigan in 2021 and played six collegiate seasons, entered the draft with a limited sample size due to injuries. Still, over three seasons as a starter for the Vols, Milton completed 314-of-498 (.631) passes for 4,159 yards and 32 touchdowns with five interceptions.

“I would bet that the RPMs on his throw are off the chart, it’s just fun to watch,” Curran added.

Indeed, the force of Milton’s throws are something to behold. The 6-foot-5, 235 pound quarterback came in first for the longest pass (60 yards), fastest initial air speed (76.4 mph), and highest initial rotation (735 RPM) at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January.

While the ceiling for Milton is high, there are still things he’ll need to work on over the offseason to have a shot at landing on the 53-man roster. With Brissett and Maye shoe-ins to make the cut, the former Vol will likely be going head-to-head with backup Bailey Zappe.

“Everything is one speed and he doesn’t layer throws, so there are parts of his game where he’s gonna have to learn ‘okay this needs a little more arc on it, this needs a little less juice on it,’ but it’s worth taking a shot,” Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi added, agreeing with Curran.

With first impressions out of the way and the 2024 rookie minicamp in the books, Phase 2 of the Patriots’ offseason continues on May 20.

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