His prediction for the New England Patriots hasn’t changed.
McShay speculated last month in his first post-Super Bowl LV mock draft that New England would select Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons with the No. 15 overall pick in 2021. On Thursday, McShay doubled down, suggesting the Patriots will explore other avenues for finding a quarterback this offseason.
Here’s what McShay wrote about Parsons:
I’m watching for the Patriots to add a quarterback via free agency or trade this offseason — maybe Jimmy Garoppolo — and potentially take a close look at the Day 2 options at the position. But with the top five off the board, another need matches up with some great value in the form of Parsons. The Penn State do-it-all linebacker opted out in 2020, but he can make plays in coverage, shoot gaps as a run-stopper, chase down ball carriers and even get home on the QB as a pass-rusher. I love his game.
McShay linked the Patriots to Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in his first post-regular season mock draft back in January. Although it’s worth noting McShay didn’t incorporate trades into that edition, whereas he projected two trades inside the top 10 picks in the latest mock draft, it’s still fascinating to see him predict an early run on signal-callers in Round 1.
McShay now has the first four picks all being quarterbacks: Trevor Lawrence to Jacksonville Jaguars, Zach Wilson to the New York Jets, Fields to the Carolina Panthers (via trade with the Miami Dolphins) and Trey Lance to the Atlanta Falcons. He has Alabama QB Mac Jones going to the San Francisco 49ers (via trade with the Denver Broncos) at No. 9.
McShay’s colleague, Mel Kiper Jr., recently projected the Patriots will trade up to draft a quarterback — a scenario former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum also could see playing out — but that might require New England to relinquish significant assets, which isn’t something that’s typically in Bill Belichick’s DNA.
Thus, the Patriots ultimately might just pick the best player available at No. 15, and Parsons would be a huge addition as New England seeks to add talent to both sides of the football.