Mike Tannenbaum predicted last week the New England Patriots will draft Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, a move the former NFL general manager believes will require Bill Belichick to trade up in the first round from No. 15 overall.
On Tuesday, Tannenbaum basically doubled down, while adding New England could bring in a veteran QB, as well.
“If you do an autopsy of what Bill Belichick looks for at quarterback, processing information and intelligence is number one. Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett, Brian Hoyer, Jimmy Garoppolo: They’re all smart quarterbacks,” Tannenbaum said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “So if you look at that through the lens of what he may do going forward, I look at maybe signing a veteran like Ryan Fitzpatrick, maybe try to acquire Marcus Mariota and then also going after someone like Mac Jones.
“It’s the old Bill Belichick-Nick Saban connection. Bill Belichick’s drafted 10 players that Nick Saban has coached. I don’t think (Jones will) be there at 15; I think he would have to go up there to above 8 to get him. But as (ESPN NFL insider) Jeff (Darlington) alluded to, I think he’s gonna be super aggressive.”
Tannenbaum, who in the past worked for Belichick and also served as the New York Jets’ general manager and the Miami Dolphins’ executive vice president of football operations, has been adamant that Jones won’t last beyond the No. 8 overall pick, owned by the Carolina Panthers.
This is surprising — Jones is widely considered the fifth-best quarterback in the draft class behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance — but Panthers head coach Matt Rhule worked with Jones at the Senior Bowl, and Carolina is believed to be in the market for a QB.
Other analysts, like NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah, aren’t quite as high on Jones, who posted absurd numbers while leading the Crimson Tide to a national championship this season. After all, Alabama was loaded with weapons, namely Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
It’s possible the Patriots could stay at No. 15 and still wind up with Jones, if they’re interested. Nevertheless, Tannenbaum’s suggestion that New England might draft a QB in the first round and add a veteran is notable, as it’s been nearly impossible to decipher Belichick’s plans.
Fitzpatrick, a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, and Mariota, a trade candidate with the Las Vegas Raiders, both have been connected to New England in prior speculation.