The New England Patriots need to draft a quarterback of the future this year, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter expects them to take care of business early.

Schefter said Wednesday in an interview with WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” he believes the Patriots will use a high pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on a QB who eventually could take over for 41-year-old Tom Brady.

“Absolutely,” Schefter said. “I think that is completely reasonable to think. We’ll see what they decide to do, because we’ve seen how the Patriots manipulate the draft board. They usually are jumping all around — rising up, rising back, adding picks, giving them away, moving around. You could look at the picks and the way they lay out today, four in the top 63, I believe. … They have a couple of holes they’ve created.”

The Patriots acquired the 43rd overall pick last October by trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers, then landed the 23rd overall selection on Tuesday by dealing wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams. They also have their own first- and second-round picks (Nos. 31 and 63), giving them plenty of assets to use in a potential trade.

Shefter said he easily could envision New England moving up to nab a quarterback in the first round.

“Now, again, it all depends on how the board falls out,” Schefter said. “Like, I am sure there are certain quarterbacks that they like and value. I don’t know who they are yet, but at some point, there may be a quarterback that slips and if they feel like, ‘Boy, this is a guy we really believe in,’ the way they once believed in Jimmy Garoppolo. I think they would move up to go get a quarterback.

“I think they would trade more picks to go get a quarterback, the right one at the right spot. They aren’t going up, I don’t think, to No. 2 — the New York Giants’ spot — to go get Josh Allen or Sam Darnold, or whatever quarterback is available there. That would surprise me.

“Look, they have the ammunition now to do what they want. If you package together those four picks in the first two rounds, you could get basically anywhere you want to get. … To answer the initial part of it, yeah, do I think they are taking a quarterback somewhere high? Yeah, I do.”

NESN.com’s latest Patriots mock draft has the team trading the 23rd, 31st and 43rd picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up to No. 4, where it selects UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Wyoming’s Josh Allen represent the top tier of QB’s in this year’s draft class and should all hear their names called in the top 10.

If New England chooses to keep the 23rd pick, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph could be options at that spot.

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