Chris Simms’ 2021 NFL Mock Draft Will Absolutely Shock Patriots Fans

Could you imagine Justin Fields falling this far?

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Think about all the rumors you’ve heard regarding the New England Patriots ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Now, throw them all out the window.

That’s basically what NBC Sports’ Chris Simms did Monday in unveiling his mock draft, which sent social media into a frenzy, largely because of his outlandish prediction for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

Opinions vary on where exactly Fields will land in the first round Thursday night, but many mock drafts have five QBs, including the Buckeyes star, going in the top 10. Simms, meanwhile, projects Fields will slide all the way to the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 32.

Not crazy enough? Consider this: Simms also projects the QB-needy Patriots will move up from No. 15 to No. 11 in a trade with the New York Giants. But instead of doing so for a quarterback, like Fields, New England will select Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, according to Simms’ unique forecast.

“First off, from their dropback pass offense, he fits everything they’d want there, because he can do all the (Julian) Edelman type stuff. Plus, of course, then some,” Simms said in explaining the projected Patriots pick on his “Unbuttoned” podcast. “He’s got much more of a deep-threat ability to his game, Jaylen Waddle. And then you add in what they’re trying to do there, with the fake speed sweeps, the intricate run game, he’s going to have great value to go along with that.”

There’s been various reports about what the Patriots might do at No. 15: Trade up, trade down or stand pat. But the widespread assumption all along has been that any trade up the board would be so that Bill Belichick could nab his quarterback of the future.

NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported Monday that the Patriots have called teams drafting inside the top 10, potentially with an eye on Fields should the QB start to fall.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer then added in his latest mock draft published Tuesday that New England and the Carolina Panthers have done “some groundwork” on what a trade might look like for the No. 8 pick. And Breer, like Pelissero, floated Fields as a possibility for the Patriots.

As such, it would be stunning to see a scenario in which New England trades up and doesn’t choose a quarterback, all while Fields plummets to the final pick of Round 1. Yet that’s what Simms envisions, however frustrating it might be for Patriots fans to see Fields back up Tom Brady in Tampa Bay as Cam Newton continues to throw wounded ducks in New England.

For what it’s worth, Simms has quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones going in the top three to the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers, respectively. He projects the Washington Football Team will trade up to No. 8 to pick North Dakota State QB Trey Lance.

So, does Chris Simms know something nobody else does? Or will we look back this weekend and wonder how he missed so badly?

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