While there’s long been speculation over whether New England will trade up from No. 15 overall, perhaps with an eye toward finally finding Tom Brady’s long-term successor, some analysts aren’t quite as high on the Patriots landing a quarterback. After all, would it shock anyone if Bill Belichick stayed put (or even traded back), instead opting for an offensive playmaker or more help on defense?
Nevertheless, the QB narrative has dominated headlines, and Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey suggested in his latest mock draft published Monday that New England should, in fact, trade up for a signal-caller.
Linsey’s mock draft — based on what he would do as general manager of each NFL team; not what he expects to happen later this month — has four quarterbacks coming off the board to start: Trevor Lawrence to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Zach Wilson to the New York Jets, Justin Fields to the San Francisco 49ers and Trey Lance to the Denver Broncos (following a trade with the Atlanta Falcons).
This would leave Mac Jones as the top quarterback available, according to most draft experts, and Linsey thus has the Patriots selecting the Alabama star at No. 10 overall after a trade with the Dallas Cowboys.
“Jones is the last consensus first-round talent at the position,” Linsey wrote. “His accuracy and control of that Alabama offense should be draws for New England, who can’t necessarily sit back and wait for him to drop to the 15th overall pick with teams such as Washington and Chicago potentially looking to move up. Dallas could be a willing trade partner with (Kyle) Pitts and (Patrick) Surtain off the board already in this scenario.”
It’s unclear what New England would have to surrender in order to move up five spots from No. 15 to No. 10, but an aggressive deal ultimately might be the Patriots’ only path to nabbing one of the top five quarterbacks in this year’s class. There’s then a sizable gap between the next tier of QBs.
Of course, an early run on quarterbacks, in theory, would push down legitimate impact players at other positions, perhaps to New England’s benefit. Still, it’s hard to feel overly confident about the Patriots’ current quarterback situation, which includes Cam Newton, who recently re-signed with New England after a disappointing 2020 campaign in Foxboro.