ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock of the 2021 NFL Draft, and surprise, surprise:
He has a quarterback going to the New England Patriots in the first round.
With the 15th overall pick in April, Kiper has New England selecting Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. Here is what he wrote about the selection for the Patriots:
They don’t pick this high often. Why not go and get your guy and build around him?Now, that changes if Bill Belichick & Co. can make a deal to get a veteran quarterback on the trade market or if Jimmy Garoppolo gets cut by the 49ers. But with Cam Newton unlikely to return to New England, Jones could become a signal-caller to groom for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. ...
But with Cam Newton unlikely to return to New England, Jones could become a signal-caller to groom for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Jones can make every throw at every level of the field, and he’s extremely accurate. Plus, we know that Belichick has drafted plenty of Alabama stars and trusts Nick Saban. Jones will be at the Senior Bowl this week, and I’m expecting him to impress. And yes, if you’re keeping count, this makes five quarterbacks in the top 15 picks.
With the team seemingly not having a ton of confidence in Jarrett Stidham - who is the only quarterback signed through 2021 on the roster at the moment - it wouldn't be surprising if the six-time Super Bowl champions signed a veteran quarterback during free agency to compete with Jones (if they actually draft him) during training camp. Having a quarterback competition is the best bet for New England to ensure they throw as many darts as possible at the quarterback position.