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MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 11: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes leaves the field following the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

They call it “The Lying Season” for a reason. Don’t believe every report that comes out in the NFL, especially when it comes to top draft prospects.

Just to be clear, this is not a way of questioning the reporters themselves. In this case, they’re likely not the ones doing the (potential) lying. It’s the agents, the GMs, the coaches, and whoever else has intel that shouldn’t necessarily be believed. But it’s hard to fault well-sourced reporters for relaying what they’re told, especially if it’s a relatively harmless report like players who are drawing interest from certain teams.

So when NFL Draft guru Daniel Jeremiah says on his podcast “Move The Sticks” that the Patriots are “really high” on Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, my first instinct is to believe the opposite. That the Patriots don’t believe that, but they want other teams to believe that they believe it.

Confused? It’s simple. If the Patriots truly want to draft Fields, do they really want to get it out there? Why would they want to risk inflating his draft stock, or pushing another interested team to snatch him off the board before they can?

Because they’re trying to make the guy they really want fall to them. Or at least into their acceptable range to trade up in the draft.

Does this sound like a wacky Charlie Kelly conspiracy theory? Yes. Am I a lunatic with minimal inside knowledge? Yes.

But I also know that the Patriots were linked to multiple top quarterback prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft, and ended up taking Danny Etling out of LSU in the seventh round. They even had two cracks at Lamar Jackson at the end of the first round, and opted for Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. Reports also indicated that they were interested in Josh Rosen, and even trading all the way up to the top to Baker Mayfield.

That last report alone should have been enough to fail anyone’s sniff test. And in the case of Fields, this one stinks. Mainly because realistically, the Patriots would have to trade up to, at the lowest, the No. 7 pick. That would jump two other teams who have a clear need for upside at quarterback, the Carolina Panthers (No. 8) and Denver Broncos (No. 9).

So based on Jeremiah’s nugget about the Patriots and Fields, it’s infinitely more believable that the Patriots would want one of the aforementioned teams to take Fields instead, and hope for North Dakota State’s Trey Lance or Alabama’s Mac Jones to fall to them at No. 15. When it comes to The Lying Season™, it’s more than fair to look deeper than the report on the surface.

Then again, the reports about the Patriots in free agency were prescient. They weren’t high on the free-agent QB class, and they ended up re-signing Cam Newton. Most reports indicated that they would be uncharacteristically aggressive in free agency, and man oh man were they aggressive.

But the draft is still a whole different kettle o’ fish. Bill Belichick is always full of surprises, but if he’s actually high on Fields and trades way up to get him, that would be the biggest surprise of his career.

There’s also the chance that the Patriots decide to pass on the first-round QB prospects, and opt for a guy they like on day 2. Scroll down for the five most likely choices in the second tier of QB prospects.

MORE: Patriots Get Surprise Comp Pick

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.