According to NBC Sports’ Phil Perry, who cites Bill Belichick’s personal scouting notes, has identified North Dakota State star Trey Lance as a better fit for the New England Patriots than Alabama’s Mac Jones.
When you look at most mock drafts, the Patriots have been attached to Jones, but it would appear Lance might fit better if you agree with Perry’s assessments.
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Lance > Jones
According to Belichick’s notes on quarterbacks, his No. 1 priority is for the player to make good decisions. The second is arm strength while the third is size, and lastly, Belichick values physical toughness in his quarterback. Here is how Perry compared Lance favorably to Jones.
[No. 1] is to make good decisions. (Lance threw 28 touchdowns against zero interceptions in his one full season as a starter.) “Then arm (Lance’s is better than Jones’), size (Lance is bigger), physically tough (Lance and Justin Fields are the two toughest runners in the class, and Lance at times seeks out contact to punish defenders).
Obviously, some of Perry’s assessments may be argued by those who might feel as though Jones is being undersold in some areas. However, most would likely agree Lance has an edge over Jones in more areas than not.
You won’t get many arguments when it comparing Lance and Jones’ athleticism. Lance is almost as physical of a runner as Cam Newton, probably a little faster at this point in the veteran’s career, and far superior to Jones in every way.
Jones’ accuracy will be his calling card, and quite honestly, he seems reminiscent of former New York Jets and Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington, only the Alabama product has a stronger arm. Because of Pennington’s top-notch leadership qualities, football IQ, and toughness, many coaches would be thrilled to find a player with those traits and a bigger arm. While that is likely Jones’ ceiling, Lance has a legitimate chance to be great.
Jones may be a safer selection, but safe doesn’t always win championships, and that’s where Belichick would like to be at least one more time before he calls it a career. It’s possible the choice he makes at QB this offseason will go a long way toward failure or success.
Trading Up Might Be Necessary to Get Lance
If the Patriots believe Lance checks all of their boxes, they won’t be able to sit at No. 15 to get their guy. There is a chance he’ll be gone within the Top 10 picks of the draft. If he isn’t taken within the first 10 selections, it seems unlikely he makes it past the San Francisco 49ers at No. 12.
In fact, that is where NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein has Lance going in his first official mock draft. Even Zierlein acknowledges Lance might even be gone before the 49ers pick. He wrote:
“Lance could go higher with a run on quarterbacks. If he’s available at 12th overall, he might be too enticing to pass up. His background and skill set fit perfectly within Kyle Shanahan’s offense.”
Apparently, Lance fits more than one coach’s profile for a franchise quarterback.
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