The New England Patriots‘ offseason just keeps getting better. Not only has Bill Belichick plugged just about hole imaginable on the roster that missed the playoffs after a 7-9 finish in 2020. The team got a max-reward for losing Tom Brady in free agency, and it just received an additional compensatory draft pick as well.
Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal got this direct explanation for the Patriots’ latest stroke of good fortune from the NFL’s Michael Signora.
The inclusion of a 33rd compensatory selection in this year’s Draft resulted from a correction by the Management Council to the calculation of average yearly compensation. As a result of the correction, the Patriots were awarded the first compensatory pick in Round 5, and the Falcons’ first compensatory selection in Round 5 has moved down two slots. By agreement with the NFLPA, the Bears will retain their compensatory selection at the end of Round 6, previously the 32nd awarded, now the 33rd.
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With the new fifth-round selection, which is the 177th overall, the Patriots now have 10 picks heading into the April 29 NFL Draft. Here is a look at all of them:
- 1st: 15th
- 2nd: 46th
- 3rd: 96th
- 4th: 120th
- 4th: 122nd
- 4th: 139th
- 5th: 177th
- 6th: 188th
- 6th: 197th
- 7th: 242nd
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Trading Up for a QB
The Patriots have tons of options. They have already signed and traded for a roster that looks fit to compete for an AFC East division title in 2021–if not more. A lot depends on the play of quarterback Cam Newton.
He’s coming back in 2021, but he’ll be more prepared, acquainted with the offense, and he’ll have more weapons than he did in 2020. That said, the Patriots would be wise to acquire a backup plan for Newton at quarterback.
There could be injuries or a need to make a change. No matter how you look at it, Newton is not the Patriots’ long-term answer at quarterback. At the most, it would appear he’s able to lead the team in 2021 and perhaps 2022. From there, New England needs to be on the hunt for the next guy they will hand the keys over to lead the offense.
With 10 picks in their pocket, the Patriots would seemingly have the draft assets to move up from No. 15 in the first round into the Top 10, where they may have a shot at drafting Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
Either would be a great option as Newton’s mentee and an in-case-of-emergency-break-glass option in 2021. Newton is only signed for a year, so he could help develop a rookie QB with a similar skill set, and the Patriots could give Lance or Fields an ideal onboarding.
Drafting a Developmental QB
Even if the Patriots don’t elect to trade up, they still draft a quarterback between rounds two and four; they could still follow the same program. The difference is that the top prospects will be off the board, and the Patriots may choose between the likes of Georgia’s Jamie Newman, Stanford’s Davis Mills, Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, or Arkansas’ Feleipe Franks.
This won’t be as big of a splash, but as aggressive as the Patriots have been in free agency, a conservative approach to the draft would be acceptable.
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