The Patriots were never a likely team to trade up in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. And they weren’t going to do it last Thursday, even if another team wanted to jump them to take quarterback Mac Jones.
That’s the case according to Albert Breer in his Monday column for The MMQB. The Patriots were reportedly “committed to taking a disciplined approach” early in the draft. New England didn’t even call the New York Giants when the 11th pick came on the clock, then the Chicago Bears acquired the selection to take QB Justin Fields. If another team leapfrogged the Patriots to take Jones before No. 15, the Pats may have simply “pivoted” to drafting “someone like” linebacker Zaven Collins, who went at pick No. 16 to the Arizona Cardinals. They then would have eyed a quarterback in the second round, possibly Stanford’s Davis Mills.
Breer’s report indicates that the Patriots weren’t necessarily keen on targeting one specific player at quarterback, at least not in the first two rounds. Strategies like the one the Bears used to get Fields don’t necessarily translate to wins, either. The answer as to who made the right move will be entirely dependent on the teams’ level of performance with their new young QBs at the helm.
The Patriots did, however, aggressively target a defensive tackle when the draft reached the second round. They traded picks 46, 122, and 139 to the Cincinnati Bengals for pick 38, which they used to select Alabama DT Christian Barmore, the highest-rated prospect in the draft at his position. Bill Belichick said on Friday that he thinks front office consultant Eliot Wolf “handled” the Barmore trade, but he wasn’t 100 percent sure about that.
Ultimately, in Jones, the Patriots landed the kind of quarterback that projects as an effective starter under the tutelage of Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. But their approach at the draft is a reflection that, regardless of whom they picked, they’re willing to be patient with the development of their next starting quarterback behind incumbent Cam Newton.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.