Perhaps the New England Patriots don’t need to trade up after all to land the quarterback they covet.

The Patriots hosted Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson on a Top 30 pre-draft visit two weeks ago, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning, citing a source. According to Rapoport, Jackson left New England “intrigued and impressed” with him.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio attended Louisville’s Pro Day to scout the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner and apparently liked what he saw, as Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reported about two weeks ago that New England was believed to be the team “most interested” in Jackson.

Jackson very well could be available for the Patriots at No. 23 overall, as quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield are projected ahead of him on most big boards. With two first-round picks and eight total selections in the 2018 NFL Draft, head coach Bill Belichick and Co. have the resources to trade up and select one of those QBs, but it seems Jackson definitely is on the table if they stand pat Thursday night.

Most expect the Pats to draft a quarterback to eventually succeed Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August. A bonus for the club: Brady appears to be a Jackson fan.

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