Patriots Mailbag: Why Drafting QB, Signing Receiver Is Pats’ Best Option

Why it's more beneficial to develop a quarterback


January 22, 2021

Pundits aren’t exactly wrong when they say Bill Belichick has struggled to add quality players to the New England Patriots through the draft in recent years.

It’s an interesting topic, so I’ve spent the last few days going over Patriots and NFL draft history.

Check them out here:

Part 1 on the 2020 draft
Part 2 on the last five years
Part 3 the last 10 years

Part 4 on the last 21 years will be publishing Friday morning.

The Patriots haven’t extracted above average value from the draft since 2016, but Belichick was on a hot streak from 2009 to 2016. So, don’t give up hope on Belichick The GM just yet. He started to turn the corner in 2020.

Watch above and read below for this week’s mailbag.

Will Belichick make us go crazy and trade back from the 15th pick to pick additional draft picks? #MailDoug

This is definitely worth a longer post at some point, but while I understand why Patriots fans would go crazy if the Belichick trades down rather than trades up or stays put at No. 15 overall, there’s definitely some proven value in moving down.

The Patriots have traded up for some fantastic players through the years like Matt Light, Rob Gronkowski, Asante Samuel, Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower and Ty Warren. They’ve also had some major misses while trading up for Bethel Johnson, Ron Brace, Duke Dawson, Joejuan Williams (jury is still out), Chad Jackson and Antonio Garcia.

The Patriots traded up for Josh Uche, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene this past draft.

The Patriots have picked up Vince Wilfork, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, Aaron Hernandez, Dan Koppen, Devin McCourty, Marcus Cannon, Jerod Mayo, Ellis Hobbs, Joe Thuney, Brandon Spikes, Chase Winovich and Damien Harris in trade downs.

The Patriots netted Kyle Dugger in a trade down this past draft.

Meanwhile, the Patriots have missed out on drafting players like Clay Matthews, Demaryius Thomas, Casey Hayward and DK Metcalf by moving down. There’s a give and take.

Overall, I’d say the Patriots have had a better success rate by trading down, but I’ll take a deeper look at that at a later point.

There’s also the option of trading out of a draft. The Patriots have picked up Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman and Deatrich Wise and lost out on Joe Staley, Mark Ingram and Jared Cook by doing that.

Who is the biggest (realistic) splash signing?

A big-name wide receiver. The Patriots have to know at this point that they need some better weapons in their offense.

So, who?s realistic? Anyone from Allen Robinson to Chris Godwin, Curtis Samuel and Marvin Jones.

Do you think BB will double dip at QB in the draft? Outside the first round guys there seems to be some value in later rounds

I don?t hate that idea with just Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala on the 2021 roster.

Say the Patriots take Mac Jones at No. 15 overall, snag another quarterback in the fourth or fifth round and then also sign someone like Jacoby Brissett or Ryan Fitzpatrick. The first-round pick and veteran would be roster locks, leaving one more spot for the other rookie, Stidham and Dolegala to battle it out.

Based on your research on draft value, who do you think are the most underrated and overrated front offices in the NFL? Pats can be excluded if you so choose. Thanks Doug

I don’t think Miami gets the credit they deserve for recent drafts, Chris Grier has been very good. Seattle’s John Schneider and Minnesota’s Rick Spielman also rank well in my rating system.

I was surprised by how low Green Bay’s Brian Gutekunst and Kansas City’s Brett Veach rated. For GMs with great job security, the Chargers’ Tom Telesco, New Orleans’ Mickey Loomis, Philadelphia’s Howie Roseman and Arizona’s Steve Keim have drafted below average over the last 10 years.

Belichick has been above average.

If the patriots traded for Deshaun Watson what would the most realistic trade look like? If not do you think the patriots will get the chance/will draft Jmarr Chase, Devonta Smith, Kyle Pitts, or Jaylen Waddle? Should they draft a WR/TE instead of a QB?

I actually think the Patriots would have to give up the equivalent of four first-round picks. You can decide for yourself if that would be worth it.

Quarterback is the bigger need and smarter pick, in my mind, just based on cost analysis. Let’s think big and use Dak Prescott and Allen Robinson as free-agent examples. If you sign Prescott, he could cost somewhere around $37 million per season. Robinson could cost around $20 million per season.

The Patriots’ 15th overall pick is expected to sign a contract worth $11.2 million over four years. So, would you rather draft a quarterback and sign Robinson and pay them a combined $23 million per season or sign a quarterback and draft a wide receiver and pay them a combined $40 million per season?

Drafting a quarterback outside of the top 10 could land you Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger or Aaron Rodgers, or you could wind up with Dwayne Haskins, EJ Manuel or Kyle Boller. There’s a similar risk at wide receiver where options range from Michael Crabtree, Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks to Michael Clayton, Detroit’s Mike Williams and Corey Coleman.

I would personally probably try to draft the QB and sign the wide receiver while also bringing in a veteran bridge option at QB.

Is this qb class objectively good or is need making these prospects out to be better than they are?

I’d lean more heavily towards it being objectively good. I’m sure there will be one or two first-round misses, because there always is, but I also believe two or three out of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Mac Jones will hit.

Florida’s Kyle Trask also has become something of a forgotten man because of his brutally bad Cotton Bowl. But he could wind up being a value on Day 2 or 3.

Let’s go rapid fire.

Would you take Jaylan Waddle if He’s available at 15.Will His ankle injury hurt Him?

Yes, absolutely I would take him. I know I sound kind of basic saying this, but I’m all in on taking the QB or wideout at 15.

Will we see the throwbacks this year??

I hope so. I love royal blue uniforms, and the Patriots’ 1995-1999 versions, to me, are nostalgically great.

which do you think is more likely: a trade up to get a quarterback like fields/wilson/lance, or taking mac jones at 15?

Taking Jones at No. 15.

said that Bill could retire in 2 weeks and leave the Pats hanging?whats the likelihood Bill retires now and if not how much longer does he coach the pats?

Very, very unlikely. And no one really knows, and it’s pretty impossible to speculate.

If you were NFL Commissioner for a day what would you do, what rule changes would you make, etc. #maildoug

Teams would be allowed to use different colored helmets, opening up options for throwback jerseys. I might also free up the number restrictions to allow skill-players to wear single-digit numbers and defenders to wear any number they want.

@DougKyed when matthew slater retires is he a hall of famed? #maildoug

Do I think he will be? Not right away. Do I think he should be? Yes, eventually.

Are Michel and Harry guaranteed (or deserving of) 2021 roster spots?

Michel: Yes.
Harry: Yes, barring a potential trade.

Not Patriots related, but do you think Philip Rivers is a HoFer?


Give us your boldest prediction for this off-season. #maildoug

Patriots win the AFC East in 2021.

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