What if the Patriots trade up … for a wide receiver?!
Might seem far-fetched. But we decided to have some fun in the newest Sports Hub NFL Mock Draft, and trade the Patriots up into the late-first round to take a wideout they (apparently) coveted. So this time they opt for a top defensive prospect at pick No. 15, and make a second first-round selection near the end of night 1.
This newest edition of the Sports Hub NFL Mock Draft comes after the 49ers’ blockbuster trade to move up to the No. 3 pick. We have an educated guess on whom they’re going to take. The Falcons ended up staying at No. 4, but they also took a quarterback, meaning the draft kicked off with four straight QBs.
If you’re hoping that leads to the Patriots becoming the team that trades up to take the fifth and final first-round quarterback, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. But there is a team trading up. Scroll down to read our 2021 full NFL Mock Draft with analysis from our football writers, including two picks for the Pats.
No doubt about this one. Lawrence is a rare kind of quarterback prospect and hasn't budged off the consensus No. 1 spot since getting there. The truth is there are no other sure things in this draft. But even if Lawrence doesn't win Super Bowls, the Jaguars are getting a supremely talented passer with a lightning-quick release and great accuracy to all levels. Lawrence should light it up in the modern passing NFL and make the Jaguars a contender by himself. -Matt Dolloff
Apparently the Jets view Zach Wilson as the second-best quarterback in this year’s draft. He certainly has some athletic upside, but so does Justin Fields, who just looks more prepared for the NFL. Whatever the case, the Jets are the Jets and it sounds like Wilson will be their pick. -Alex Barth
The Niners are in "win now" mode, and they view the last piece to be a starting quarterback on his rookie deal. They're likely tabbing Jones to be that guy. While he has a lower ceiling than other, more athletic top QB prospects, Jones has one of the highest floors and he could be NFL-ready as a rookie if necessary. With a stacked roster around Jones on both sides of the ball, San Fran is poised to go for it maybe one more time with Jimmy Garoppolo while taking their big swings for a Lombardi with Jones in years 2-5. -MD
Playing professionally for the hometown team was every sports fans’ dream at some point (maybe it still is for some). That could be the case for Justin Fields, who grew up half an hour outside of Atlanta in Kennesaw, Georgia. Of course, this hinges on the Falcons electing to keep the pick, and if they do, using it on a quarterback. But in a league where talent is scarce at the position, the chance to take Fields and develop him behind Matt Ryan may be too good to pass up. -AB
Joe Burrow gets an elite weapon. Pitts is as skilled and athletically gifted as any wide receiver in this draft class, and has shown a willingness to block too. He has consistently ranked as one of the best tight end prospects in history. He should contribute immediately for the Bengals, and if he and Burrow reach their full potential together, they will be a deadly duo in the NFL. -MD
After having one of the best defenses in football last season, the Miami Dolphins turn their attention to the other side of the ball. J’Marr Chase will give Tua Tagovailoa another large catch radius target, and stretch opposing defenses even thinner as they try to deal with Miami’s myriad of weapons. -AB
- No. 7 pick
- No. 9 pick
- No. 40 pick
- 2022 second-round pick
The Broncos outbid the Patriots, Panthers, and any number of other teams looking to jump to the final logical spot to secure a first-round quarterback. The Patriots ultimately aren't willing to give up what it would've taken to jump from 15th to 7th.
When the Falcons elected to stay at four and take a quarterback, the Detroit Lions' seventh pick became the hotspot for a trade-up. Denver, only two picks behind Detroit, is able to offer the most compelling offer, and move up to get the fifth of the top-5 QBs, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. -AB
The Panthers decided they're not going to give Sam Darnold any immediate competition in the quarterback room, instead opting for the best tackle prospect to come along in a while. Sewell is one of a handful of blue-chip offensive prospects and a relatively unsung highlight of a top-15 dominated by players on that side of the ball. -MD
The Lions resume what was once a great franchise tradition, which is drafting a wide receiver in the top-10. They've had decidedly mixed results, with a hit like Calvin Johnson and a miss like Charles Rogers. Smith should be a hit. His combination of speed, length, route-running, and hands have drawn comparisons to Marvin Harrison. He should quickly be one of Jared Goff's top weapons and be a fine replacement for the departing Kenny Golladay. -MD
Patrick Surtain is the best and most NFL-ready defensive player in this draft. Yet with an emphasis on offense in the modern game, the cornerback-needy Cowboys are able to grab him with the 10th pick of the draft. -AB
If Bill Belichick trades up in the first round, this might be the kid he takes, not a quarterback. Parsons looks like a generational prospect at the position, with off-the-charts measurables to go along with high football acumen. He could become an elite guy playing all over the Giants defense within two seasons. -MD
If the Eagles are going to give Jalen Hurts a real shot at QB, it’s in their best interest to get him as much help as possible. They can do so by drafting Jaylen Waddle, who adds another dynamic to their already diverse wide receiver room. -AB
The Chargers seem to have found their quarterback of the future in 2020 first round pick Justin Herbert. If the team wants him to make it to the future, the best thing they can do is get him some protection up front, so they take Rashawn Slater. -AB
The Vikes are pretty set on the defensive interior, but could use some help on the edge beyond just Danielle Hunter. Paye should be able to contribute right away as a rotational pass-rusher, with the potential to grow into an every-down threat like he was at Michigan. He should be one of the first front-seven players off the board. -MD
This pick starts the clock on Stephon Gilmore, and/or J.C. Jackson, in New England. The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn is practically a Gilmore clone. Jaycee stands at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, excels in press-man coverage, and shares an alma mater with the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year. He has experience playing a variety of coverages and lining up both inside and outside, too. The Patriots would clearly be pegging Horn as their No. 1 corner of the future, perhaps as soon as the second half of the 2021 season. -MD
- No. 16 pick
- 2022 third-round pick
- No. 24 pick
- No. 55 pick
- 2022 second-round pick
The Steelers move up to get a top front-seven prospect that should fit their defense well. The Cardinals move a pick from 2022 to their 2021 arsenal, while still staying in the first round.
Owusu-Koramoah is fast and rangy, and should be a playmaker at the NFL level. There are questions about his size (6-foot-2, 221 pounds) limiting him as a linebacker, but he should be an asset in coverage. The Steelers should be able to find uses for him as a potential replacement for Bud Dupree, who left Pittsburgh for Tennessee. -MD
Caleb Farley is one of the more intriguing first-round prospects. He brings tremendous athleticism and football IQ to the cornerback spot, but as a converted quarterback he’s still learning the finer points of the position. Combine that with a back procedure in early April, and his stock has slid in recent weeks. The Raiders are never afraid to go against the grain, so they make a high-upside pick at 17. -AB
Back on the clock, the Dolphins have a chance to replace some of the defensive players they lost due to a cap crunch this offseason. They get and NFL-ready pass rusher in Gregory Rousseau. -AB
The Patriots scouted Darrisaw, but they opted to shore up cornerback for the future instead. The Washington Football Team takes the plunge with an unexciting but safe pick in Darrisaw, who has as high a ceiling as anyone not named Penei Sewell at his position. They'll roll out Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke for a year, and perhaps take another shot at a first-round quarterback in 2022. Darrisaw should give them great blind side protection either way. -MD
Kyle Fuller was the Bears’ second-best defender, until they had to release him for salary cap reasons this winter. The team signed Desmond Trufant in free agency, but he’s hardly a good enough replacement given the rest of the depth (or lack thereof) Chicago has at the position. They go out and get themselves a legitimate starting corner with shutdown upside. -AB
The Colts paid a significant price to acquire Carson Wentz this offseason, so it’s in their best interest to keep him upright. In a deep tackle draft, they give him some protection on his blindside. -AB
It appears that Jadeveon Clowney was not the answer for the Titans. Tennessee has sorely lacked in the pass-rushing department in recent seasons, and Phillips (pictured above, chasing after Trevor Lawrence) has a chance to fix that as one of the more explosive edge rushers in the draft. -MD
The Jets get their next try at a franchise quarterback with the second overall pick, and here take what they feel is the best defensive player available in Ojulari. He has a chance to be a disruptive outside linebacker at the NFL level. The Jets have C.J. Mosley at inside linebacker, but could use an infusion of legit young talent at the position. -MD
Between guys like Tyrann Mathieu and Isaiah Simmons, the Cardinals have always seemingly been drawn to versatile, positionless-like defensive players. Jamin Davis is a true linebacker, but his athleticism allows him to do so much it feels like he’s one of those wild cards. In a very athletic division, he’ll be a useful chess piece for Arizona. -AB
There’s no point in investing heavily in a quarterback if you’re not going to give him anyone to throw the ball. Kadarius Toney is an all-around offensive weapon who will keep defenses guessing, the perfect kind of tool for a rebuilding offense. -AB
The Browns have one of the more loaded rosters in the NFL, but defensive tackle is an area where they could start planning for the future. Barmore gives them versatility and big-time upside along the defensive front, and a fine athlete to groom with Malik Jackson and Sheldon Richardson still in the fold at DT. Barmore could prove to be a nice complement to Myles Garrett. -MD
With Matt Judon now in New England, Baltimore has a need for a physical, well-rounded linebacker. There isn’t an assignment Zaven Collins can’t fill, and having him play next to Patrick Queen will create a formidable duo in the middle of the Ravens’ defense. -AB
With Malcolm Jenkins another year older and Marcus Williams playing on the franchise tag, the Saints may want to grab a future starter at safety. Moehrig's abilities to track the ball deep down the field could draw comparisons to Devin McCourty. He should be an impact player early on. -MD
- No. 29 pick
- No. 46 pick
- No. 177 pick
- 2022 second-round pick
If this actually happens, and the Patriots take the player we're about to highlight, a lot of people might lose their minds. This doesn't necessarily take them out of the running for a quarterback in the second or third round, though, if they make another trade. The receiver they end up taking here?
The Patriots just don’t have enough roster spots for all their picks. Unable to trade into the top 8 earlier in the draft, they consolidate here and pick up an extra first rounder, which they use on Purdue’s Rondale Moore. With Julian Edelman’s future now squarely in jeopardy, Moore could develop into his replacement as a dynamic, high-volume slot target - assuming he stays healthy. -AB
Another fresh weapon for Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who took his game to another level throwing to Stefon Diggs & Co. in 2020. Bateman may need a little refinement until he's ready to be a major contributor for the Bills offense, but his ceiling is as a dynamic big-play threat at outside receiver. Buffalo has no sure things at the position outside of Diggs, as far as perimeter receivers go. -MD
K.C. gets an affordable reinforcement for its front-seven, with most of the offense intact for 2021. Fans might be clamoring for offensive line depth after the Super Bowl debacle, but they can get it later. Oweh has a chance to be a productive edge rusher at the NFL level. -MD
- No. 32 pick
- No. 58 pick
- No. 131 pick
- 2022 second-round pick
No new receiver for Tom Brady! He has enough toys to play with. Lamar Jackson, on the other hand, could use another. So the Ravens make a similar trade to the one they made to get their quarterback in 2018...
Mimicking the trade they made in 2018 to move up to 32 and take Lamar Jackson, the Ravens pull off a similar deal to get Jackson another receiver. Terrace Marshall is the exact kind of big-body, wide-catch radius wideout Baltimore needs, and they probably wouldn’t be able to get him if they wait until their next pick at 58. -AB
NFL Draft: Read More At The Patriots Draft Hub
Previously, we had the Patriots selecting Alabama wideout Jaylen Waddle in the first round. We have increasingly felt more like they will lean defense in the first round, and worry about filling quarterback and other positions of need in the second round and beyond. That is, unless they make an aggressive move like the one above.