Patriots Projected to Draft Athletic, Small-School QB in First Round

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Could the New England Patriots‘ next franchise QB hail from the Missouri Valley Conference?

It’s early, but with the college football season over, the mock NFL Drafts are beginning to take on more practical shape. Heisman Trophy winner and all-world Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith has risen on almost every reputable draft board.

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson has Smith going third to the Miami Dolphins. That’s certainly a sensible landing spot for the consensus top wide receiver in the draft who just lit the Ohio State Buckeyes aflame in Monday night’s National Championship game with 12 catches for 225 yards and 3 TDs.

Patriots fans would love to have Smith playing for their team next year, but barring an aggressive trade-up approach to the 2021 NFL Draft, Smith will be long gone by the time Bill Belichick and Co. are on the clock at No. 15.

Quarterback is the position that many expect the Patriots to address in the first round, though some believe there is still a good chance New England will bring Cam Newton back in 2021.

Wilson likes the Patriots to take a QB at No. 15. With Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields off the board, CBS Sports’ draft expert has New England going to the MVC for their next franchise QB.

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Trey Lance to the Patriots at No. 15?

Wilson has the Patriots selecting North Dakota State star Trey Lance. Here is Wilson’s blurb about the Patriots taking Lance at No. 15.

The Patriots need a QB and the biggest question might be whether one will be available at No. 15. There’s a chance Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Lance and even Mac Jones are all off the board. If not, Lance could have the highest upside, even though he comes from an FCS program and only played one season.

The 6’4″ 230-pound mystery prospect didn’t play in 2020 due to COVID restrictions on his conference. However, he dazzled pro scouts with his performances in 2019. 

Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 TDs, and no interceptions as a sophomore. He played in 16 games and completed 66.9% of his passes while also rushing for 1,100 yards and 14 TDs. On video, he looks like a combination of Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson and prime Newton.

If his talent at NDSU translates to the NFL, he could be the next great dual-threat QB.

What About Mac Jones?

Alabama star Mac Jones put up insane numbers in the Tide’s national championship win over Fields and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Jones finished with 464 passing yards and 5 TD passes.

Some may believe he improved his stock with that performance. Apparently, Wilson isn’t among the major believers.

With Jones still on the board when the Patriots picked in Wilson’s mock, he has them taking Lance over the Bama star. Jones has obviously faced better competition, and he has performed well against them. Although, there is a thought that much of Jones’ success is due to his all-world weapons and offensive line.

In any case, Jones lands with the Washington Football Team in Wilson’s mock at No. 19. Belichick has a direct connection to Bama coach Nick Saban, but per Wilson, Lance’s upside will be too much to turn down at No. 15.

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