According to one AFC evaluator, quoted by The Athletic’s Mike Sando, there is a fear the New England Patriots might be positioning themselves to tank during the 2020 season in hopes of drafting Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence.
“I’m a little worried that they are tanking for Trevor Lawrence,” an AFC evaluator said, per Sando.
What Fuels This Fear?
The evaluator seemed to be referring to the Patriots’ passive approach to addressing its QB situation. Future Hall-of-Famer, Tom Brady was allowed to walk to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.
Rather than attempting to replace Brady with an available veteran like the recently released Andy Dalton or Cam Newton, the Patriots settled for signing Brian Hoyer again to help mentor second-year-pro Jarrett Stidham.
One might have thought the Patriots would look to one of the top-rated QBs in the 2020 Draft to grab someone who had the potential to grow into a franchise QB–or at least be capable of challenging Stidham in 2020.
That didn’t happen either, and based on that relative inactivity surrounding the most important position in the sport, some are taking it as a sign the Patriots are not only resigned to the concept of having a poor 2020 season but potentially welcoming it because it would place them in a position to draft Lawrence.
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What’s So Great About Trevor Lawrence?
He would seemingly check every box anyone can create when identifying a top-notch QB prospect. He’s 6’6″, 220 pounds, mobile enough to make plays with his legs, tough, and he possesses the arm talent to make any throw you’d want in the NFL.
He’s also been playing in the biggest college football games for a little over a year, and he’ll have another full year of prime experience in 2020, assuming there is a college football season.
Lawrence was just a sophomore in 2019, and yet he still led his team to the national championship game, throwing for 3,665 yards, 36 TDs, and just eight interceptions…as a sophomore. He also ran for 563 yards and 9 TDs.
I’d expect his numbers to rise or remain consistent in his junior season as Clemson will likely be in the national championship conversation again.
There Are Doubts Bill Belichick Would Ever Consider Tanking
The recently retired James Develin was on WEEI’s “Dale and Keefe” show on Friday, and he doubted strongly tanking is a strategy head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick would ever consider.
When asked if the Pats will tank in 2020, Develin said:
I don’t think so. I think one of the biggest things about the Patriots organization is everyone is focused on winning. It’s all about winning, it’s all about improving the team no matter what the cost. I think there will never be a day that there’s ever a second wasted in that building on purposely trying to position themselves in the draft or something like that. I just truly believe in my heart that that will never happen. We will always be trying to win games and always put ourselves in the position to be a better football team.
We shall see.
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