How much do the Patriots love the third- or fourth-best quarterback on their draft board for this month’s NFL Draft?
The Atlanta Falcons will probably want to find out.
According to ESPN, the Falcons “are open to moving” the No. 4 pick.
The Falcons probably don’t want a quarterback -- or at least a first-round-caliber talent -- with Matt Ryan still going strong, so it would make sense for them to see what they could get in a trade for the pick.
For the Patriots, that could mean dealing a haul similar to what San Francisco gave to Miami to move up to No. 3 -- the No. 12 pick this year, plus this year’s third-rounder and first-round picks in 2021 and 2022.
After their free-agent spending spree, the Pats are clearly in win-now mode. If they’re going to trade some futures, they should probably be looking for an established arm along the lines of the oft-rumored Jimmy Garoppolo.
In his comments last week, though, owner Bob Kraft did express several reasons why Cam Newton might’ve been hamstrung last season and might be poised for a bounce-back season. That would open the door for bringing in a rookie to learn from Newton and Jarrett Stidham.
Of course, the value of pick No. 4 depends on which quarterback a team covets and what that team knows about San Francisco’s plans at No. 3. Varying reports have the 49ers tied to Mac Jones and Justin Fields. The Pats have also been tied to those two players.
It’s one heck of a card game right now. Perhaps the Pats are better off holding tight at No. 15 and adding a receiver like DaVonta Smith or maybe someone to further bolster the defense.
The Falcons aren’t the only source of a move up in the first round. Cincinnati (No. 5), Miami (No. 6), Detroit (No. 7) and Carolina (No. 8) are probably out of the quarterback hunt. But Atlanta provides the only chance for a team to definitely get the fourth quarterback taken.
Considering comments Kraft also made about building through the draft so that the Pats don’t have to go on another spending spree like they did last month, it really makes you wonder if they’ll be willing to meet any team in the top 10’s price.