The New England Patriots look poised to select a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. David Carr views one as an obvious fit.
The former NFL QB-turned-NFL Media analyst said Tuesday he believes Ohio State’s Justin Fields would be a “no-brainer” pick for the Patriots based on how they’ve constructed their roster this offseason.
Carr said he initially believed New England would gravitate toward a classic dropback passer like Alabama’s Mac Jones but changed his tune after the team re-signed mobile QB Cam Newton and spent big on free agent tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry.
“They’re trying to build their team almost like the Baltimore Ravens,” Carr said on NFL Network. “They’re going to utilize the quarterback in the run game, but then they also expect you to make throws from the pocket and be dynamic there. I think there’s no one else in the draft that fits that mold more than Justin Fields, so I think this makes a lot of sense.”
Over his two seasons as Ohio State’s starter, Fields threw 63 touchdown passes with nine interceptions and added an additional 15 rushing touchdowns. His 70.3 percent completion rate in 2020 ranked sixth in the FBS.
“I think Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick, now that they’ve dipped their toe in the mobile quarterback realm where they know that they have advantages in the run game, I think that (Fields) is a no-brainer for them,” Carr continued. “I think that if they have the chance and Justin’s still there, I think that they make this selection, and I think it’s going to be a brilliant move and one that could really set them up for the next five, 10 years at quarterback.”
The odds of Fields falling to the Patriots at No. 15 overall appear slim, as most draft analysts have him coming off the board within the top eight picks. But with New England addressing most of its immediate needs in free agency — and Newton signed for just one additional year — head coach Bill Belichick could look to package picks together to trade up for a quarterback like Fields.
NESN.com’s latest Patriots mock draft has the team doing just that, sending the 15th, 46th, 96th overall picks to the Cincinnati Bengals to move up to No. 5 and draft Fields.
North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, another dual-threat QB prospect who could benefit from learning behind Newton, also is a trade-up possibility. Fields and Lance are widely considered the third- and fourth-best signal-callers in this year’s draft (though their order varies) behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson.