Patriots Predicted to Land ‘Polarizing’ QB With Mac Jones Draft Pick

Patriots potential draftee Joe Milton

Getty Patriots potential draftee Joe Milton

Sure, when you examine the starting quarterback position—for the Patriots and others—around the NFL, you will almost certainly find a first-round pick. But to an extent, that’s the result of a built-in bias—first-round picks are starters because teams invest so much in them, and they get far more opportunities than those selected later. If the Patriots’ Bailey Zappe had been a first-rounder and Mac Jones had gone in the fourth round, the last few years in new England would have surely been different.

Indeed, two of the Top 5 passers in the NFL last year were not first-rounders—Dak Prescott of the Cowboys was picked in the fourth round and Brock Purdy was a seventh-rounder. And Patriots fans are ever reminded that the greatest quarterback in history, Tom Brady, went in the sixth round.

All this is to say that perhaps the Patriots could find a quarterback worth consideration late in the draft. And at MassLive, writer Chris Mason has the Pats adding an intriguing QB option in the seventh round, Tennessee star Joe Milton.

Patriots Have an Extra 6th-Rounder From Mac Jones Trade

Now, the MassLive draft haul does include a quarterback taken at No. 3, North Carolina star Drake Maye. But there’s room on the depth chart for more. There is a bit of irony with the pick, too: It would be the sixth-rounder the Patriots got from Jacksonville in the trade that sent Mac Jones out of town. Here’s how Mason sees it:

“With the pick the Patriots received for jettisoning Mac Jones to Jacksonville, they opt to double dip at the quarterback position. Milton has some ridiculous natural ability, but was never able to establish consistency at Tennessee.

“With the Patriots looking for their franchise quarterback of the future, they take a flier on Milton in addition to Maye at No. 3. At such a crucial position, it can’t hurt to throw an extra dart at the board.”

Milton is an interesting “dart,” a 24-year-old six-year collegian who started his career at Michigan and finished it at Tennessee. He could not win the starting job with the Wolverines, which certainly counts as a red flag, and lost the starting job to eventual Lions draftee Hendon Hooker with the Volunteers, after Milton suffered an injury.

Milton finally got his shot last season and led Tennessee to an 8-4 record, throwing for 2,769 yards with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Joe Milton a ‘Polarizing’ Prospect

Entering the draft, there’s a split on whether Milton can be an NFL quarterback. He has the talent but lacks the refinement.’s Lance Zierlein wrote in his scouting report of Milton, “Rare physical specimen with the proverbial ‘arm talent to make all the NFL throws,’ but he’s prevented from doing so by a lack of timing, accuracy and touch. Milton is gifted with a cannon for a right arm and can throw the ball as hard or as far as you want. His fastballs are often inaccurate and difficult to catch for moving targets, and he was wildly inconsistent locating his deep throws.”

At The 33rd Team, analyst Greg Cosell wrote that Milton ran a version of the “Air Raid” offense that often meant that he had to make quick throws without reading progressions or identifying defensive wrinkles. He could make the throws, but he was not required to show he understood the position.

But the talent is there, and Cosell recognized that Milton splits personnel-types.

“Milton will likely be a polarizing prospect as NFL teams evaluate him and envision his transition to the next level,” Cosell wrote.

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