NFL Draft: Joe Milton III selected by the Patriots, who double up at quarterback

Joe Milton III played in college with Michigan and then Tennessee. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

If arm strength was all that mattered for quarterbacks, Joe Milton III would have been drafted on Thursday night. And probably early on, too.

Milton is an intriguing prospect out of Tennessee. He’s 6-foot-5, 235 pounds. He also can throw the ball as far as anyone in the draft class.

There’s more to playing quarterback than just size and arm talent, and Milton needs development. The New England Patriots are willing to wait, as they selected Milton in the sixth round in the NFL Draft. New England has a pretty good history with sixth-round quarterbacks. The Patriots can afford to have a developmental QB, because they drafted Drake Maye with the third overall pick to be their starter.

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Milton will be a fun player to track. He has the physical tools that make the pick a decent gamble.

Milton spent three seasons with Michigan, and started five games his third season there. He failed to impress and by the end of the season was benched for Cade McNamara.

Milton had three seasons to go and transferred to Tennessee. His first two seasons there he mostly was behind Hendon Hooker, though when Hooker got injured late in the 2022 season he got a chance to start and won Orange Bowl MVP with 251 yards and three touchdowns against Miami.

Milton had 2,813 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions in his final season with the Volunteers. It was enough to keep hm on the NFL radar.

When teams take quarterbacks beyond the first round they’re looking for at least one elite skill to build off of, and Milton has that. He has NFL arm strength. He has good size for a quarterback as well.

It will just take a while for Milton to make an impact in the NFL, if he ever does. Between Maye and Milton, Patriots preseason will be worth watching.

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