With the New England Patriots’ free agent spending spree in the rearview mirror, though more deals are certainly possible, the conversation has started shifting to the 2021 NFL Draft, which is officially just three weeks away.
While it remains to be seen what the Patriots would like to do with the No. 15 overall pick, everybody seems to be of the mindset that they need to draft a quarterback.
Heck, even owner Robert Kraft made that abundantly clear during his Wednesday press conference.
Given that numerous teams figure to be in the market for a QB, New England will presumably have to step out of their comfort zone and trade up a few spots.
That obviously goes against Bill Belichick’s philosophy, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Speaking of which, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay just released his latest mock and actually predicted that the Pats will pull off the impossible and trade up with the New York Giants to the No. 11 overall pick to select Ohio State signal caller Justin Fields.
ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has the Patriots trading up to select their quarterback of the future.
McShay talked about how a Jimmy Garoppolo trade is unlikely and the Pats are likely to roll with Newton in 2021 given his low guaranteed money. Additionally, he noted that “now is the time” for the team to break its streak of not selecting a QB in the first round since 1993 (that was Drew Bledsoe).
Listen, we know mock drafts rarely (if ever) pan out exactly the way analysts predict, but the latest draft buzz has indicated that Fields could fall outside of the top five and potentially lower. Some eye-opening reports have surfaced questioning his overall work ethic and drive to become great. They even went as far as to claim that he’s a “last guy in, first guy out” type of player.
Whether those claims hold some merit or were meant to tank Fields’ value so he falls to a certain team is up for debate. What matters is that the chances of him sliding have increased significantly over the last few days, putting the Patriots in a prime position to trade up and get him.
What also helps their chances is the San Francisco 49ers’ evident interest in Mac Jones, who’s been heavily linked to New England in recent months. Nothing proves that more than the fact that GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan chose to attend his pro day over Fields’.
We personally rate Fields higher than Jones, though the Alabama product might be a better fit in the Patriots’ system given that his intangibles have drawn comparisons to Tom Brady.
Nevertheless, the fan base would have very little to complain about if New England trades up to select the Buckeyes star, who will have an incredibly high ceiling if he burnishes his throwing mechanics and his ability to go through progressions.
The stars have been aligning for the Patriots to nab a quarterback in this year’s draft, and based on where the roster stands after free agency, this might be their last chance in quite a while to make it happen because we don’t count on them producing another losing record anytime soon.