The New England Patriots are reportedly keen on finding their quarterback of the future in this month’s draft, though it’ll be pretty difficult (if not impossible) to nab one of the top five prospects if they hold serve with the No. 15 overall pick.
Barring something truly unforeseen, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be the first two gunslingers to come off the board, presumably with the top two selections.
That’ll leave the likes of Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance for the Patriots to choose from.
A lot will obviously depend on what the 49ers do with the third overall pick, but the one burning question the front office will have to answer, other than singling out their preferred target, is how high they’ll have to trade up to ensure they can draft their guy.
The bare minimum, you would think, is at least five picks, and Pro Football Focus seems to be in lockstep with that analysis.
In their latest mock draft, PFF predicted that the Patriots will strike a trade with Dallas (!) to move up to the No. 10 overall pick and select Alabama star Mac Jones.
Pro Football Focus’ latest mock projects a big move for the Patriots.
Here’s what analyst Ben Linsey had to say about the trade. Full disclosure: while we totally agree with Linsey that Jones should be the fifth QB taken in terms of upside and star potential, his reason for why Dallas emerged as a trade-back candidate was a little head-scratching.
“Jones is the last consensus first-round talent at the position. His accuracy and control of that Alabama offense should be draws for New England, who can’t necessarily sit back and wait for him to drop to the 15th overall pick with teams such as Washington and Chicago potentially looking to move up. Dallas could be a willing trade partner with (Kyle) Pitts and (Patrick) Surtain off the board already in this scenario.”
It’s admittedly a little puzzling to think that this proposed trade would hinge on both Pitts and Surtain being off the board already. While Pitts a virtual lock to go inside the top 10, it would be downright shocking if Surtain was taken before the Cowboys’ turn to pick.
In fact, most mocks have Dallas taking the Alabama product at No. 10 overall. We’re just not sure how many of the nine teams ahead of them would emphasize taking a cornerback over a quarterback or one of the stud wide receivers/offensive tackles.
If Patriots fans can put that bizarre tidbit aside, nabbing Jones at this point in the first round would be a dream scenario for GM Bill Belichick and the rest of the front office. The flow of information from Nick Saban to Belichick is a luxury most other team’s don’t have, and it’s possible the Pats are receiving intel on Jones that others aren’t.
Given how much Cam Newton struggled last season, it would seriously behoove the Patriots to roster a backup capable of being thrust into action at the drop of a hat. And that could very well be the former Alabama gunslinger.
Jones, who led the nation in completion percentage (77.4%), passing yards (4,500), passer rating (203.1) and yards per attempt (11.2) in 2020, all the while leading the Crimson Tide to a national championship over Ohio State, would fit that bill more than any of the three remaining prospects.
Again, it remains to be seen what Patriots’ true intentions are, but fans can certainly feel encouraged knowing that they’ll have a multitude of options at their disposal on draft night. It’ll just depend on how much Belichick and Co. are willing to give up to move up.