It's no secret that the New England Patriots' greatest roster void is at quarterback. Yet, there is a good chance the team does not look to fill this deficiency in the first round; past the "Big 4" quarterbacks (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance), there is a substantial drop-off in long-term upside.
However, Lance Zierlein's first mock draft of the 2021 season would solve that issue. Zierlein's mock sees Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields slipping all the way to pick 15 and going to the Patriots. In comparison, Lawrence is mocked to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 1st pick, Wilson to the New York Jets with the 2nd pick, and Lance to the San Francisco 49ers with the 12th pick.
"It's hard to project where the QBs will land this year, as I expect grades to vary greatly by team," Zierlein wrote. "But Fields is a talented quarterback with big-game experience who will have a chance to compete for snaps immediately in New England."
While I personally believe it is highly unlikely that Fields falls below Lance or even Wilson (though this isn't inconceivable), an Aaron Rodgers-like fall for Fields could solve New England's quarterback problem in the long term.
Fields is a franchise caliber talent that can elevate the production of the Patriots' offensive personnel as a whole in both the pass and run games. The blue chip prospect passed for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2019 and 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2020, logging an additional 484 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2019 and 383 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in 2020.
While a lot of scrutiny has been placed on Fields' ability to go through a full field progression at the speed required in the NFL, there is no doubt that a coaching situation as sound as the one in New England can do wonders for his mental development. Despite not being the best football mind in the quarterback class, Fields offers one of the best all around toolsets that a team could want from a QB prospect; a strong arm with great touch, solid intangibles, and excellent mobility.
If Fields does seem to slip in the draft come April, there is a strong possibility that a team looks to trade up for him. As such, while the probability of Fields slipping to pick 15 remain slim at best, such a miracle could put the Patriots in an undeniably excellent position to revive the dynasty.