The Patriots are bringing a heavy presence to the second Pro Day for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Head coach Bill Belichick ostensibly won’t be in attendance at Fields’ workout on Wednesday. But according to Albert Breer of The MMQB, they’re basically making a full-court press with their other personnel evaluators. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler, and national scout Matt Groh are all expected to be present.
Patriots front office consultant Eliot Wolf attended Fields’ first Pro Day workout in Columbus. So all of Belichick’s top personnel assistants and draft scouts will have gotten a good, up-close look at Fields.
New England isn’t alone, though. They have plenty of competition alongside them at Fields’ Pro Day. Six teams who pick ahead of the Patriots (15) in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft have sent representatives to the workout: the Jets (2), 49ers (3), Falcons (4), Lions (7), Panthers (8), and Broncos (9).
The most likely scenario is that the Patriots are doing their due diligence on Fields. If even just one of the aforementioned clubs is willing to take Fields, it’s going to take a fat package of draft capital – and likely an overpay, at that – to get into the right spot to take him.
Another theory: the Patriots view Fields as the quarterback most likely to fall into their range, so they want to know as much about him as possible in the event that he’s sitting there at 15th overall. They could also trade up a few spots without giving up too many picks if he falls to the 10-14 range, as they did in Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft.
If Belichick trades multiple first and second-round picks to funnel all of them into one selection as high as fourth overall, it would still be a huge surprise for a coach who values draft capital and roster depth as much as any in the NFL. Especially since, well, aggressively chasing a QB at the top of the draft historically doesn’t really work.
Taking the “best available” at that position based solely on an urgent need, and not whether they actually like the kid, is how teams torpedo themselves. So it’s a good idea for the Patriots to make sure they have conviction in selecting Fields, if the opportunity arises. If the Pats do end up going for a QB in the first round, it appears Fields could truly be their guy.
If the Pats don’t go quarterback in the first round, there’s still a chance they opt for one of the next-tier prospects on day 2. Here’s a short list of more QBs to know for the Pats ahead of the draft.
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 email@example.com.