The Patriots are one of the most fascinating teams to watch in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Let’s break it down.
The Dolphins selected Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in 2020, but PFF’s mock draft — in which Eric Eager and George Chahrouri alternated selections based on what they’d do at each spot — projects Miami to swing a trade for Texans superstar QB Deshaun Watson.
The hypothetical blockbuster, per Eager: The Dolphins acquire Watson in exchange for Tagovailoa, cornerback Xavien Howard, the No. 3 pick, the No. 18 pick and another future first-round selection.
This would be captivating on its own, obviously, with Tagovailoa spearheading a rebuild in Houston. But what if the Texans then used the No. 3 pick on a quarterback and flipped Tagovailoa?
That’s what Eager suggests, projecting Houston to draft Ohio State QB Justin Fields at No. 3 and trade Tagovailoa to New England for the No. 15 overall pick.
Basically, here’s how PFF’s mock draft has everything shaking out when the dust settles.
Dolphins receive: QB Deshaun Watson
Texans receive: No. 3 pick (QB Justin Fields, Ohio State), No. 15 pick (CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State), No. 18 pick (EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia), CB Xavien Howard and a future first-round pick
Patriots receive: QB Tua Tagovailoa
The Texans have been adamant about not trading Watson — a three-time Pro Bowl selection just entering the prime of his career at age 25 — despite the quarterback wanting out of Houston. Thus, all of this is contingent upon the Texans finally opening up the phone lines.
There’s been chatter that Watson might sit out games if the Texans don’t trade him, though. So, Houston ultimately could have no other choice, at which point Miami will be positioned to build a strong package centered around Tagovailoa and draft picks.
The Patriots’ inclusion in PFF’s hypothetical scenario is the real wrinkle here. New England has been linked in speculation to nearly every quarterback available via trade, free agency or the draft, and Tagovailoa is an intriguing possibility because of his obvious talent and Bill Belichick’s knack for bringing aboard Alabama players coached by his good friend Nick Saban.
Acquiring Watson, one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks, would be a huge win for Miami. But it’s crazy to think the Dolphins’ efforts conceivably could open the door for the Patriots to obtain the young QB they so desperately need.