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1st Round QB: The Last Piece of the Puzzle?


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I think we were probably all pretty shocked, and at least pleasantly surprised at the spending spree the Pats just went on this past week. They ticked pretty much every box, from resetting with Hightower (and effectively Van Noy and Trent Brown) after a year away, the double TEs, the much-needed influx of WR and D-Line talent, and bringing back most of the key internal free agents outside Thuney. Every glaring weakness has been filled, and filled by players either in or entering their prime. Time will tell how well it all works out, but plenty of reason for optimism, and I'd argue that even extends to the quarterback to a degree. There's every reason to think Cam with a year in the system, a full offseason, and better weapons and overall surrounding cast will be much better than what we saw for most of 2020.

But this team doesn't play for Super Bowls in October or AFC Finalist banners. And I think they're realistic Cam isn't the guy that's going to go toe to toe with Mahomes in the playoffs every year (no matter how good the defense is, I think we've seen how Pats/Chiefs goes when the teams are evenly matched). The bottom line is, everything Belichick put in motion this week points to a 3-4 year window where the quarterback position isn't taking up a ton of cap space. And with the 15th pick in the draft, the first time since '08 picking that high, this is almost definitely the best position we'll be in to go get *the* guy they like in a given draft. By all accounts that was Baker Mayfield a few years ago, Justin Herbert last year. They've been doing their homework for years preparing for this possibility, and now for the first time we're at a real fork in the road.

So who is "the guy" this year? Everything from the talent they've assembled on offense to the way Belichick and McDaniels have talked about the evolution of the QB position, it points to a quarterback with a varied skillset, able to disguise at the LOS, good pocket presence, capable of moving the chains running or throwing. Taking Wilson and Lawrence off the board, you're realistically looking at either Lance or Fields in that top half of Round 1 range. Both are major projections for different reasons, and both have the arm talent and dual-threat ability. To me, I think they're gonna be way more in on Lance. Cleaner slate as a player to develop, and doesn't come with the processing ability concerns that Fields has as a result of playing in that OSU offense. Either way, they've set it up where anyone they bring in gets a low stakes rookie season behind a team leader who happens to be the perfect guy to mentor a young, modern style QB. A guy who's been through pretty much everything a franchise quarterback can go through in his career. I don't know if they could draw up a better environment if they tried.

At the end of the day, Belichick knows he's not getting another Brady. But he's probably cocky enough to think he and Josh can develop a guy with the right attitude, talent, and modern skillset to be good enough to get this team back to competing for Super Bowls on a regular basis. People forget that Brady wasn't Brady for those first three rings, and he was never asked to carry those teams over the course of a season or even a full playoff run. But he rose to the occasion every time he was asked. If they can find something of that in one of these QBs, Brady getting his 7th won't be the last chapter in this book.

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My bet is Justin Fields is the target in a trade up.

Should Fields be unattainable/taken but the Patriots still trade up, it is for Trey Lance.

If "settling" in the first round at 15, it is Mac Jones if available.

If not available at 15, it is Kyle Trask possibly even in a trade down should a team be willing to move up at that point.

If settling in the in the second round, it is Kellen Mond.

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Fields

An interesting comment I heard today is that apparently Cam has been mentoring Fields since high school. Would be really interesting if Fields fell far enough for the Patriots to be able to trade up and grab him. Lance gets all of the hype but Fields is just as athletic and played against tougher competition. They have picks to trade up and almost need to consolidate picks given that they have 10 now, so trading up makes a lot of sense if someone they want is there. We've heard how much trouble Stidham has had picking up the Patriots offense given how complex it is from Auburn, wouldn't Fields have a similar learning curve? BB may want someone with a more pro style offense who can be plug and play. 

 

Lance

Lance has played one game in a year, so he will be 2+ years removed from any game action if he were to get drafted and sit behind Cam for a year. I feel like that will be a major concern for them, especially given how few games he played overall in college. Lance seems more likely to me primarily because I believe Fields will be the #3 QB so they would be more likely to trade up for Lance. Do we have any reason to believe that his offense was anymore complex / made him process defenses more than Fields? I was surprised by the fact that he seems to have trouble being accurate throwing the football to the right side of the field during his pro day ( the time when you expect everything to look perfect). 

 

Jones

He's plug and play.. you beefed up the OL to give a rookie a clean pocket to be able to make all of the throws. He has more weapons after this offseason and you've got the Saban factor. He has the lowest floor of all the QBs and I think Cam would start but Jones would take over after the bi week. I don't get excited about the idea of Jones for some reason, but I could certainly see him doing well here with weapons around him. 

 

Mond

Patriots have looked at the Senior Bowl a lot recently and likely got a good look at him there. He has a lot of game tape to go through and if they believe he can still progress as a QB he could be the guy. Imo he is 100% the guy if they aren't willing to trade up in the 1st / if other teams out bid them and take their top guy. It's also possible that they package some picks to get back into the end of the 1st round to get him so they can have that 5th year option.

 

 

Given the offseason so far my current prediction would be: 

Jags Lawrence

Jets Wilson

Panthers Justin Fields

Broncos Trey Lance

 

The Atlanta restructure I think puts them out of the running for grabbing a QB.. Bengals have Burrow..Eagles are going to give Hurts a chance.. Lions I lean towards giving Goff a solid chance at the spot.. which makes me believe you could probably trade up anywhere from 4-7 and get your pick for Fields/Lance. I would trust in BB's decision for any of those guys .. Lance a bit less than the others given how boom or bust he is but if BB believes he is the future, i'll take his word for it 

 

Edited by Crimmage
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52 minutes ago, Crimmage said:

Fields

An interesting comment I heard today is that apparently Cam has been mentoring Fields since high school. Would be really interesting if Fields fell far enough for the Patriots to be able to trade up and grab him. Lance gets all of the hype but Fields is just as athletic and played against tougher competition. They have picks to trade up and almost need to consolidate picks given that they have 10 now, so trading up makes a lot of sense if someone they want is there. We've heard how much trouble Stidham has had picking up the Patriots offense given how complex it is from Auburn, wouldn't Fields have a similar learning curve? BB may want someone with a more pro style offense who can be plug and play. 

The reason Fields wears #1? It's the number his mentor, Cam Newton, adorns.

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12 hours ago, dhunt2402 said:

Belichick and McDaniels have talked about the evolution of the QB position, it points to a quarterback with a varied skillset, able to disguise at the LOS, good pocket presence, capable of moving the chains running or throwing.

I would like to know where BB said this concerning the QB position?  I'm talking about breaking down the QB position in his words directly. I'm not talking about a general comment before they play someone like the Ravans becasue that BB BS before a game.  Yes I have heard this many times to the point of frustration however it come from the likes of Phil Perry and T Curran and the rest of the Sportswriters (know it all) and so call draft experts. Would I like a QB that runs and throw heck yes but they don't grow on trees. I was on the Wilson Band wagon months ago and was basically told your nuts. You still think I'm crazy 😁  I will not fall in line with the we will teach him how to throw at the NFL level crap. Its Ridiculous. Funny you take out the 2 guys that can do both out of the equation, why becasue they can do both and they will go 1 and 2. Why, the most important factor QB position, they know how to play QB AND PASS. The only two that have both skills.  It's hard to comment on your question if you think BB has this philosophy, which I don't.

12 hours ago, dhunt2402 said:

Cleaner slate as a player to develop, and doesn't come with the processing ability concerns that Fields has as a result of playing in that OSU offense.

You can say the same thing with Lance. Who threw the ball again't 9 to 5 players where he aveage 15 throw per game and orked in a HS offense where he had one predetermine target.

12 hours ago, dhunt2402 said:

People forget that Brady wasn't Brady for those first three rings, and he was never asked to carry those teams

I agree how ever they didn't have the Ty law rule than and they don't have the flag FB rules now.

Quote

So who is "the guy" this year?

I will go out of the box and say Jones. He can do two things exceptionally well and that is throw the ball and play the position. He's head and shoulders above all others when it comes to throwing the ball and understand how to play QB. He has the same skill that make Lawrence and WIlson so valuable, PASSING THE BALL. I have heard all of his faults and excuses why he not the guy however the same excuse aren't applied to the others. Here my favorite "ya the only reason he's good is he played at Bama" Really how about Fields that doesn't apply!!! Lance the golden boy played against 9 to 5 players, really.  The other we can teach them how to play QB and learn to THINK!!!  How about we can help Jones on his velocity the same way they did with Brady.

Now if you show where BB said that the way to go with the QB in the future it would be Kellon Mond. 1st reason he can throw the ball and has shown he can read defenses and go through his progressions. Another way of saying this, He has QB skills.  Here the greatest part,  we keep 15 and get JC Horn or any other player you desire while the other fools trade the farm for Field and Lance and pray that they can RUN THEM to the SB.  Last, what happens when the are running and the teams youy face are throwing the ball, such as Mahomes, Brady, Rodgers, Allen and the new kids, Lawrence and Wilson.  Come on say it with me Lamar Jackson, YOU LOSE!

Edited by m haynes
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11 hours ago, Crimmage said:

I would trust in BB's decision for any of those guys .. Lance a bit less than the others given how boom or bust he is but if BB believes he is the future, i'll take his word for it 

I agree if that the way to go. Like you mentioned Mond is the guy.

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I think a QB with talent can succeed quicker than most think in todays NFL. I don't think it takes years to find out.

In fact I think Mac Jones could do very well in year 1.

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1 hour ago, m haynes said:

Now if you show where BB said that the way to go with the QB in the future it would be Kellon Mond. 1st reason he can throw the ball and has shown he can read defenses and go through his progressions. Another way of saying this, He has QB skills.  Here the greatest part,  we keep 15 and get JC Horn or any other player you desire

Since free agency I feel like this is the most likely outcome.  

They've addressed so many holes on this team that they can do whatever they want. The most glaring "holes" off the top of my head are OT/CB and those are only because you've got guys on 1 year deals and BB loves to redshirt guys. With that being said, drafting a top corner in the first then trading back up to guarantee Mond would make a lot of sense.. especially because they currently have 10 picks and 79 guys under contract. They are probably going to want to consolidate some of those picks or try to push them towards next season when some of these 1yr guys are gone. 

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2 minutes ago, SBLIII said:

In fact I think Mac Jones could do very well in year 1.

If you draft Jones I think he needs to start day 1, he would automatically be better than Cam and given how monstrous the OL is this year.

BB has built an impressive OL that Jones will be able to have a lot more time in a clean pocket than he would in most other places he could be drafted.  

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2 minutes ago, Crimmage said:

With that being said, drafting a top corner in the first then trading back up to guarantee Mond would make a lot of sense..

Or an OL in the first and Mond + CB in the second in a trade up for one of the two.

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Just now, Crimmage said:

If you draft Jones I think he needs to start day 1, he would automatically be better than Cam and given how monstrous the OL is this year.

BB has built an impressive OL that Jones will be able to have a lot more time in a clean pocket than he would in most other places he could be drafted.  

agree

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On 3/20/2021 at 2:41 AM, dhunt2402 said:

The bottom line is, everything Belichick put in motion this week points to a 3-4 year window where the quarterback position isn't taking up a ton of cap space. And with the 15th pick in the draft, the first time since '08 picking that high, this is almost definitely the best position we'll be in to go get *the* guy they like in a given draft. By all accounts that was Baker Mayfield a few years ago, Justin Herbert last year. They've been doing their homework for years preparing for this possibility, and now for the first time we're at a real fork in the road.

Good post, but this bit is key for me. We hear how they "like" a top QB pretty much each year (didn't they even interview Baker?), but we've near enough been picking in the 30s for most of the last decade and had TB12. It makes SO much sense that we'd do something at QB in this draft given how unusually high up in the draft we are and no longer have QB stability. Not gonna lie, it also makes me a little worried that it makes too much sense and in typical BB fashion we're gonna be left shocked for the wrong reasons lol, but you have to imagine that there's been serious homework done on all the top QB prospects.

I'm just hoping that we can get to the draft without trading for a Jimmy G/Mariota type which I think would be the wrong way to go for the way this team is currently built, and then get the popcorn ready guys. I've been big on Jones all year and think it arguably makes more sense to get him now that we have what looks like a rookie-friendly team for someone to start and get used to life in the NFL. As someone else has already said, he is more "plug and play" than a Lance. But that was also when I thought we had no real shot at Fields (and we may still not, i'm not totally convinced Wilson is a lock for #2), but if he's still on the board after #3 then we simply have to explore that.

Lance worries me, a lot. A few weeks ago if someone were to suggest BB trading up/drafting a 20 year old QB with 1 years college experience anyone who looks at his history would say you were mad. But then FA happened. No one can predict what Bill is thinking or what he plans to do next. It makes it exciting, and ultimately if we end up with either of those 3 i'll be happy, but Fields, Jones, Lance is how i'd order these guys.

Edited by ToonPatriot
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