There’s been a lot of talk connecting the Patriots to a quarterback ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, but draft expert Daniel Jeremiah seems to believe New England is going in a different direction.
Jeremiah, the NFL Network draft analyst, released his NFL mock draft 3.0 on Tuesday and has the Patriots not only sticking to their original No. 15 selection, but using it to boast their defense.
Jeremiah predicted the Patriots will select Penn. State linebacker Micah Parsons, though, it doesn’t sound like he would be surprised with the previously-mentioned option.
“The Patriots have been bold this offseason, so I won’t be shocked if they decide to trade up for a quarterback,” Jeremiah wrote. “If they stay put, Parsons has the versatility to fit in New England.”
Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars), Zach Wilson (Jets), Mac Jones (49ers) and Trey Lance (Falcons) were the first four players selected in Jeremiah’s exercise. Justin Field (Lions) was selected No. 7, which indicates he believes each of the top-five signal-callers are off the board early.
Of note, Jeremiah had the Patriots selecting Parsons in his first mock draft of the season, as well.
“Parsons is an explosive, versatile playmaker and the Patriots need to get faster on defense,” Jeremiah wrote back in January.
Unlike at the time of Jeremiah’s first mock draft, though, the Patriots have completely overhauled their roster in free agency, including the linebacker position.
New England signed Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy, specially, adding them to a depth chart which includes Dont’a Hightower, Chase Winowich, Josh Uche, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings and others. Essentially, it means the Patriots don’t have an immediate need at the linebacker position like they did entering the offseason, although sometimes a best-available player outweighs a team’s biggest need when it comes to the draft.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Parsons registered 109 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, five pass breakups and four forced fumbles as a sophomore in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season.