Patriots Mailbag: Would Pats Trade Up In 2021 NFL Draft For Non-QB?

Quarterback is the biggest need, but what if a top prospect falls?


Apr 23, 2021

By this time next week, we’ll finally know what the New England Patriots have done with their first-round pick.

We have some ideas on which players might interest the Patriots with the 15th overall pick. Watch above and read below to check out this week’s mailbag:

Thoughts on a Trent-Wynn-Andrews-Mason-Onwenu lineup

I still think the best offensive line combination is:

Left tackle: Isaiah Wynn
Left guard: Michael Onwenu
Center: David Andrews
Right guard: Shaq Mason
Right tackle: Trent Brown

The Patriots are likely to pick up Wynn’s fifth-year option at $10.413 million. It doesn’t really make sense to trigger that and then switch Wynn to left guard.

So, I think the move is to keep Wynn at left tackle, put Brown at right tackle, where he has plenty of experience from his time in San Francisco and Las Vegas and then have the option of moving Onwenu around if and when anyone gets hurt this season.

I also think it’s likely that the Patriots will draft an offensive tackle (as early as the first round — USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker is the player to watch) as a plan for the future since Brown will be hitting free agency in 2022, and Wynn could be a free agent in 2023.

Using the rumors of teams calling the Panthers for the 8th pick as a scenario. If the Patriots were to call and are interested in moving up, would this be for a player like Micah Parsons? (Assuming the top QBs are gone).

I’m doubtful that the Patriots would trade up to take Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons based on some character concerns.

If New England were to move up to No. 8 overall, it would likely be for a quarterback (Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance are all appealing fits), or if a top player like offensive tackle Penei Sewell or wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase started to fall down the board for some reason.

If not trading up for a QB what are your thoughts on taking a skill position or going secondary?

I know there are some concerns about DeVonta Smith’s size (166 pounds), but I’d take Chase, Smith or Jaylen Waddle at No. 15 overall. All three of those wide receivers have elite upside.

Cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn also would be worth taking at No. 15 overall.

Will they go either of those routes? That remains to be seen, but it makes sense to take a premier position at No. 15 like quarterback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, defensive end or cornerback since New England so rarely drafts that high.

#MailDoug. Why not take 2 QBs in lower rounds and see how it shakes out? I never see this as a draft strategy or possibility.

I see a couple of issues with this strategy:

1. How many quarterbacks are you keeping, and who is your backup? Can one of those later-round quarterbacks be counted on as a backup in his rookie season? Do you know that after you draft him? Because otherwise, you’re probably going to have to cut one of the quarterbacks you drafted or keep four signal-callers on your roster because you’ll still need a backup.

2. The odds of hitting on a late-round quarterback are extremely slim. Basically, your chance of drafting a dependable starter in the first round is about 50 percent. That drops to around 11 percent on Day 2 and four percent on Day 4. So, even if you take two quarterbacks between Rounds 4 and 7, you still have a better chance of hitting on a starter if you take one player in the second or third round.

Tom Bradys are rare.

Draft is up. I’m curious about the 2nd tier QB prospects. Do you see any of them as a definitive upgrade over Jarrett Stidham ? Any really worth a day-two pick ? #MailDoug

Definitive? No. Like I said in the question before, your chances of hitting on a dependable starter in the second or third round is just around 11 percent.

I think Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond has higher upside than Stidham, but there also are some very obvious flaws in his game that need to be tweaked.

Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman is a really interesting player because he opted-out for the 2020 season. Who knows what would have happened if he had played at Georgia last season. What if he took the same 2020 leap as Zach Wilson? He’s another player with upside because of his mobility.

I find Florida’s Kyle Trask to be a little bit more interesting than Stanford’s Davis Mills. I ran a metric on accuracy rate plus depth of target plus turnover-worthy play rate, and Trask ranked fifth behind Wilson, Fields, Jones and Lance (2019). I also ran another one on just accuracy plus depth of target, and Trask also ranked fifth behind those same players. That means he ranked higher than Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Trask’s biggest issue is his lack of mobility. He also doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, but he is accurate.

What team in the top 10 is MORE doable to make a trade with for 1 of the top rookie QB’s??

The Carolina Panthers. They’d welcome a haul to trade down.

If Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones are still available there, the Patriots should consider it. All three players seem like they would be solid fits in New England.

Let’s go rapid fire.


Patriots don’t select a QB in the 1st round. The 2nd round comes, should the Patriots reach and take Davis Mills or Kellen Mond?
I wouldn’t recommend reaching on either quarterback. I prefer Mond to Mills, but either player (or even Trask) would be fine if they fall to New England in the second or third round.

Is there a realistic possibility the Patriots don’t draft a quarterback this year?

Yes. Everyone thought the Patriots would take a quarterback early in 2018 and then they wound up with Danny Etling. Everyone thought New England would select a quarterback last spring and then they signed Brian Lewerke and J’Mar Smith as undrafted free agents.

If the Patriots don’t see a quarterback they like, they won’t force it.

Do you think JC Jackson could be used to significantly sweeten whatever offer they make to move up for a QB? I suspect BB will balk at paying him CB1 level $ next offseason

Yes. I’d put his value at around a second- or third-round pick.

You mention here that your source threw Phillips out there as one of two to watch at 15, what was the other name?

Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips and USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker are the two names I’m hearing as possibilities for the Patriots in the first round. We’re still a week away, however. Things can change, players can fall, moves can be made.

What are the chances the Pats drop back from 15 to 20’s and draft a QB? not a huge difference between 20’s and the 40s where they have a pick. That 5th yr option is huge which you get in the 1st rd, rather than waiting till pick 46 in 2nd.

I think that’s extremely unlikely and would require a quarterback like Mac Jones, Justin Fields or Trey Lance to fall or New England to reach for Mond, Mills or Trask.


Since draft work, for me at least, involves either watching film on a prospect or shuffling through spreadsheets, I’ve continued bingeing old seasons of MTV’s “The Challenge.”

How is Hallie, and Mom?

Baby Hallie is good. She’ll be four weeks old Sunday. My wife is doing well too. Thanks for asking! Olivia, our 3-year-old, keeps things fun in the house.

Are you watching mortal combat on hbo max tomorrow ?

I loved “Mortal Kombat” (1995) growing up. So, I’m planning on watching it Saturday on a projector in a friend’s backyard.

Is Parsons a no-brainer if he fell to 15

No, I wouldn’t say so.

How does it feel to be Time’s Man of The Year for 2021?

It feels less special if only because it was so expected.

With Allen, Tua, and now maybe Wilson in the division. Do you believe the Patriots know they have to get a QB1 in this draft to be able to compete for an AFC East title against those guys? #MailDoug

No, I don’t think the Patriots think that way.

What position other than QB needs the most upgrading?

Probably wide receiver.

What will you be munching on for your next #DougBuds?

Great question. I’m on the lookout for mystery flavor Sour Patch Kids. I also just picked up some Trader Joe’s spicy cheese crunchies.

Whose a later round QB (projected round 4 or lower) that could be a potential franchise player if things break the right way?

Arkansas’ Feleipe Franks is an interesting prospect. Newman is worth a flier, as well.

#MailDoug @DougKyed draft night food and beverage of choice? Draft broadcast of choice?

I watch a lot of the draft with the sound off, so I don’t have a major preference on broadcast. Both networks do a good job.

I’ll probably be drinking iced coffee and some combination of Diet Mountain Dew and energy drinks throughout the weekend. I’ll mix in some water and seltzer too.

As far as food, I’ll definitely be eating pizza on Friday. I think I ordered some Chili’s on the Saturday of the draft last year. Maybe I’ll try to eat a little bit healthier on Thursday and have some sort of salad or falafel or something.

#maildoug @DougKyed In 2000, Brady was the 7th QB selected, in the 6th round. If you had to set the over/under for the round in which the 7th QB will be selected this year, where would you have it?

Good question. Probably the third round?

Thumbnail photo via Mickey Welsh/Imagn Content Services, LLC
American quarterback Jamie Newman
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