The New England Patriots brought in Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel for pre-draft visits last week, but they’ll pass on a quarterback in the first round of this mock draft.
The Patriots could use a quarterback to back up and potentially replace Tom Brady, since they shouldn’t be willing to lock up Ryan Mallett after the season. The smart move would be for the Patriots to take a quarterback late in the 2014 NFL draft to see if they can get a steal, and if they can’t, try again in 2015.
Check out which quarterback the Patriots wind up with below.
Round 1, pick No. 29: Marqise Lee, wide receiver, USC
If the Patriots are going to select a receiver in the draft, it should be in the first round. There should be no doubt that the player they select is better than what they currently have at the back end of the depth chart and one who can immediately challenge Aaron Dobson for the starting “X” receiver role.
If Lee is available at No. 29, the Patriots should bite. Brady needs better weapons this season, and while last year’s rookies should improve, Dobson’s foot injury will hinder his offseason.
Round 2, pick No. 62: Kelcy Quarles, defensive tackle, South Carolina
The Patriots could elect to take Stephon Tuitt or Ra’Shede Hageman at the end of the first round, or they can wait and take another defensive tackle with a pass-rushing pedigree in Quarles.
Quarles can play five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 or three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3, which is exactly what the Patriots need.
The Patriots could use some valuable depth along their defensive line since Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Armond Armstead all dealt with health issues in 2013. Wilfork and Kelly might not be back in 2015, so the Patriots also will be looking to the future.
Round 3, pick No. 93: Arthur Lynch, tight end, Georgia
The Dartmouth, Mass., native is a big target who can block. That’s pretty much exactly what the Patriots need behind Rob Gronkowski on the depth chart.
Round 4, pick No. 130: Kevin Pierre-Louis, linebacker, Boston College
Pierre-Louis is one of the best athletes in the draft, and that speed and agility didn’t only flash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Pierre-Louis can be the situational-coverage linebacker that the Patriots need, allowing Jamie Collins to rush the quarterback on third down.
Round 4, pick No. 140 (compensatory): Brandon Thomas, offensive line, Clemson
Thomas was considered one of the best interior linemen in the draft before tearing his ACL during training. The Patriots will need him in 2015. They can get by with their current offensive line in 2014.
Round 6, pick No. 198: Marion Grice, running back, Arizona State
The Patriots already have shown interest in Grice, who’s recovering from a leg injury. He’s quick and can catch passes out of the backfield.
Round 6, pick No. 206: Connor Shaw, quarterback, South Carolina
The Patriots don’t jump on a quarterback early and instead take Shaw to compete for the backup role with Mallett. The Patriots, especially offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, have shown interest in mobile quarterbacks. Shaw was extremely efficient during his senior season with the Gamecocks, throwing for 24 touchdowns with only one interception.
Round 7, pick No. 244: Nikita Whitlock, fullback, Wake Forest
Whitlock is a converted nose tackle. The 5-foot-10, 251-pound prospect’s 6.96-second three-cone drill might have Bill Belichick drooling.