The New England Patriots could be out of position to take the top quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. If that’s the case, one expert suggests the team might be willing to do something bold on draft day.
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Patriots Might Be Willing to Trade-Up
By most accounts, the top quarterbacks available in the 2021 NFL Draft will be Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Quite honestly, all four of them might be gone in the first 10 picks of the draft.
Many talent evaluators might suggest there will be a significant dropoff to the next tier of players at the position. Under this school of thought, Pro Football Focus’ Eric Eager seems to believe the Patriots might be bold and aggressive enough to trade up to get one of the top tier guys.
Eager shares his thoughts with Mark Schofield on Radio Vermont. Take a look:
If the Patriots finish in the 13-20 range, are they too low to draft a great QB?
Eric Eager of Pro Football Focus says yes, and thinks the Pats could trade up…
— Brady Farkas (@WDEVRadioBrady) December 19, 2020
It’s not a completely crazy concept, but let’s be honest, the Patriots aren’t going to part with enough assets to trade up to get one of the top 2 prospects.
I believe by the time the draft rolls around, Wilson will have supplanted Fields as the No. 2 quarterback on many draft boards.
In a complete slam dunk, Lawrence will go No. 1 to the New York Jets barring some sort of strong finish that pushes them out of the NFL’s basement. In a bit more of a fluid situation, I’m expecting Wilson to be No. 2 on draft boards with a group of teams potentially calling the Jacksonville Jaguars (or whatever team has the pick) to see what it would take to move into that position.
Fields will slip, but will still be coveted. He may make a team very happy between the fifth and seventh picks overall. Lance is a bit of a mystery because of the questions about his level of opposition and overall experience. However, he seems to check all of the boxes athletically and from a leadership standpoint.
If the Patriots want any of those guys, they would almost certainly need to trade up. As of now, the Patriots look to be headed for a pick in the mid-teens or as high as 12th if they fall apart over the final three games. Either way, they’re likely out of position to draft any of the elite QB prospects.
A move up 4 or 5 spots might just put them in play for Lance or maybe even Fields. If they want to go very bold, the team could mortgage a good deal of picks and maybe Stephon Gilmore to make a run at Wilson.
What About Kyle Trask and Mac Jones?
Both Florida’s Kyle Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones are considered first-round talents by most, but this is the tier of quarterbacks that is usually grouped just below the top guys. To be clear, Lawrence is on a tier all his own as he is probably the most can’t-miss QB prospect since Andrew Luck.
From there, Wilson, Fields, and Lance are a bit more similarly graded.
Trask and Brown both have some impressive gifts and could be stars down the road. The Patriots would likely be able to draft either of them without trading up. Expect this to be one of the top offseason conversations if the Patriots decide to move on from Cam Newton and don’t hand the reins over to Jarrett Stidham.
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