NFL Rumors: Patriots 'Love' Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Devon Clements

There has been no shortage of speculation that the New England Patriots could trade up in the 2020 NFL Draft in order to draft one of this year's top quarterback prospects. While trying to figure out what it would take to do that has been the focal point of conversations, what seems to be assumed is that the six-time Super Bowl champions would move up to take Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, who is rumored to be slipping down draft boards because of injury concerns. 

But what if Tagovailoa wasn't the QB New England would trade up for? Well, according to one rival GM that spoke to NBC Sports' Peter King, the Patriots "love" Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. 

“They love Justin Herbert, but enough to trade up for him?" one rival GM said. Pats do have 12 picks—second-most in the draft—for ammo, but only one of those comes in the top 85. If they want Herbert, they’d likely have to be willing to part with the 2021 first-rounder in a trove of picks. After losing out on Hayden Hurst in their latest hunt for a tight end, no way the Pats could reach for versatile Notre Damer Cole Kmet here to solve the tight end problem, is there?

Herbert could very likely be the second QB taken off the draft board next week if a team like the Dolphins - who are the next team after the Bengals that are expected to draft a QB in this year's draft - aren't sold on Tagovailoa's health moving forward. If that's the case, then the Patriots would have to leap frog Miami to get Herbert if they whole heartedly wanted the Oregon QB to be the next face of their franchise. That means that Bill Belichick would have to muster up a package that would move him up - at the very least - 19 spots on the draft board. 

While the Giants - who currently hold the 4th overall pick - have not been public about their willingness to shop their top 5 draft pick, the Lions - who have the 3rd overall pick - have let the world know they are open for business. So, if New England wanted to shock the world in order to take Herbert in this year's draft, Detroit may be the team they can pull off a trade with in order to acquire him. 

Though it would be very uncharacteristic of Belichick to make a blockbuster move like that, what we do know is that he has the draft capital and some movable pieces on his roster that could potentially get him a top 5 pick this year. So, if Belichick isn't sold on Jarrett Stidham and wants to find the first franchise QB of the post-Tom Brady era in Foxboro, he has the assets to pull off a trade of that caliber this year to acquire a player that is rumored to be loved by the Patriots organization. 

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Max McAuliffe
Max McAuliffe

I have him right behind Burrow. Second guy on my list.