Patriots QB 2021: Draft offers intriguing options for New England if they select a passer
Unless things suddenly start to click for Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham takes a big step forward, the Patriots will be looking for a new starting quarterback.
On Thursday, we took a look at which quarterbacks New England could sign or trade. Friday is considering options if they choose to find their next QB at the start of the draft. If New England continues to struggle, the Patriots could be at the top in a draft with several interesting quarterbacks.
If the season ended today, the Patriots would be chosen between seventh and 11th based on the tiebreakers with the other 2-5 teams. If they lose to the Jets on Monday, they could consider a top-five pick.
Here’s a look at the best QBs available:
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson – Barring a catastrophic injury, Lawrence will be the first overall pick. There have been rumors that he doesn’t want to play for the Jets. But whenever there’s a generational quarterback, there are often rumors that he doesn’t want to play for the backpack outfit who should pick first. That may be true this time around, but this speculation is premature.
Lawrence has been compared to Peyton Manning with some running ability. The Patriots would definitely have to trade for it, which wouldn’t happen if the Jets had a choice and probably wouldn’t happen if someone else did either. In case someone with a franchise quarterback – think Houston with Deshaun Watson – lands the top pick, it’s possible the Patriots could progress.
Justin Fields, Ohio State – The 6-foot-3, 228-pound quarterback isn’t as sought after as Lawrence, but in many years he would be the first choice.
CBS’s Chris Trapasso likes it:
“In two games Fields was almost flawless. He completed 48 of 55 passes for 594 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. And he made a variety of ridiculous throws on the field that demonstrated his immense talent for arms. Much like he did a season ago, when Fields went from the transfer from the University of Georgia who couldn’t beat Jake Fromm to the Big Ten Player of the Year, the junior was super fluid to inside the pocket and, unlike most quarters, it looks incredibly calm when improvising outside of the intended structure of the room.
Trey Lance, State of North Dakota – This is the ultimate choice of boom or bust. The state of North Dakota, an FCS school, plans to play its full season in the spring, as most FCS programs have not chosen the play in the fall. Lance, who led the NDSU to an undefeated championship in 2019, will not be part of the title defense. He chose to prepare for the NFL Draft.
The Bison have a fall game planned, essentially a fall showcase for Lance against Central Arkansas.
ESPN’s Todd McShay believes Lance will be able to take the leap in competition:
“He has the physical attributes including a tall 6-foot-4 and 226-pound stature. We know he has a good touch on his throws and he superimposes the ball well. We know he does a good job extending plays and can fold up and run with the best of them (he had 1,100 rushing yards in 2019). And we know he can drive the ball vertically.
Kyle Trask, Florida – The Gators’ 6ft 5in starter is a late bloomer with a big arm. ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes Trask will continue to rise on the drawing boards:
“It’s the total package. He’s got a big 6-5 frame. He can do all the throws, whether it’s showing touch on short courses or showing strength on go courses. To verify that shoulder throw in which Trask puts the ball where only his catcher can retrieve it. Now Trask is going to have to keep playing at this high level. Can he limit the errors at Texas A&M and against LSU, Missouri and Georgia over the next month? Before the season I thought he was a Day 3 prospect to watch. Now, Trask looks like a top 40 pick. There is still a lot of time to go, of course, but I like what I see so far.
Zack Wilson, BYU – The 6ft 3in mobile passer has significantly increased his stock since the start of the season.
Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus is a fan:
“He’s the top ranked passer in college football. It can save out of pocket as well as on the go. He has quick release and can throw it from any platform. And there is no lack. Get used to it – Wilson is an elite quarterback prospect.”
Mac Jones, Alabama – The Crimson Tide quarterback isn’t a consensus first, but CBS got him in their last first-round sim and McShay likes him:
“Two things jump out at me when I study his tape. First, his pocket awareness is particularly strong. The 6-foot-3-inch junior redshirt knows how to maneuver in small spaces and shows strength while hanging on with defenders on the ground. Second, the precision is there. His placement and ball trajectory are top of the line and have helped him achieve a 78.3% completion rate.
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