The idea behind trading up, of course, would be to snag a premium player, perhaps even a quarterback in wake of Tom Brady’s departure. If the Patriots trade down, they’ll likely add to their treasure trove of picks, which could be appealing if Belichick doesn’t fancy anyone at No. 23.
So, will the Patriots choose either of those paths? ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter explained Thursday morning on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” that both options could be on the table, with New England’s ultimate direction depending on what happens early in the first round.
“It just depends on how the board falls,” Schefter said, as transcribed by MassLive.com. “If hypothetically, Tua (Tagovailoa) went five (overall) and Justin Herbert went six, all of a sudden they’re not trading up for a quarterback. If the Dolphins went for a positional player like an offensive lineman, and Tua or Herbert went six and one of them started to slide (down the draft board) and made it to 12 or 13, could it then get interesting? Yeah. I think it could. Right? But you can’t say that going into the draft (Thursday). I guarantee they’ve gone over all these scenarios and tried to figure out what they’re planning for, but until it starts happening, you don’t know.”
The Patriots have been linked to several quarterbacks in speculation leading up to the draft, which is understandable since everyone wants to know who will replace Brady this season. Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round pick in 2019, appears to be the frontrunner for New England’s starting quarterback job, with veteran Brian Hoyer serving as the backup. But the Patriots’ QB depth chart could change this weekend as the draft unfolds.
All eyes undoubtedly will be on the Pats if either Tagovailoa or Herbert — widely considered the next-best quarterback options behind presumptive No. 1 pick Joe Burrow — sticks around longer than expected.
“If one of those quarterbacks starts to slide, I wouldn’t be shocked if they (traded up),” Schefter said.