Mel Kiper Jr. has the Patriots making a major splash in the latest version of his 2021 NFL mock draft.
Kiper, a longtime draft analyst, has New England moving up six spots in the first round to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. The Patriots, of course, currently are among the most QB-needy teams in the league, and Bill Belichick and Co. might need to be aggressive if they want to land one of the top five prospects at the position this year.
What would the Patriots need to surrender in order to make their way into the top 10 of the draft? Kiper’s aforementioned hypothetical scenario has New England trading for Denver’s ninth overall pick, and he suggested what the Patriots’ return to the Broncos might look like.
“To move up six spots, we can keep the comp of the Devin Bush trade,” Kiper wrote for ESPN.com. “The Patriots would have to send the Broncos at least the No. 15 pick, a second-round pick and a 2022 pick. And I wouldn’t be shocked if it took the Pats’ 2022 first-rounder to get the deal over the finish line. New England also is expected to add premium compensatory picks for this class, so it could have more ammo to use.”
The Patriots only should execute this type of deal if they are supremely confident in the player they would be trading up for. New England currently has plenty of other roster needs outside of quarterback, so draft picks are at a premium. The Patriots might be better served by filling the void under center with a veteran signal-caller anyway.
That said, we’ve heard one report this winter indicating Belichick plans to be uncharacteristically aggressive this offseason. While that might pertain more to free agency and/or trades, perhaps the Patriots front office has something up its sleeve for the draft as well.