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Monday Morning Mock Draft: Patriots trading up to pick a quarterback? Not so fast.

Related: Updating the Patriots’ offseason needs after the latest free agency signings

Alabama Spring Game Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

No other team in the NFL made as many high-profile free agency moves as the New England Patriots during the first week of free agency action. Coming off a disappointing 7-9 season as one of the league-leaders in salary cap space, the Patriots brought twelve players on board while re-signing or tendering nine others.

They have solidified their roster across the board and addressed weaknesses such as the tight end and interior defensive line spots, but a big question still remains: Who will be New England’s starting quarterback in 2021?

While Cam Newton has been re-signed, and youngsters Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala are still around to serve as developmental depth, the Patriots appear to be in the perfect position to make an aggressive move at the most important position come the draft. Trading up to select one of Trey Lance, Zach Wilson or Justin Fields seems like a popular play fro New England, but the experts do not seem convinced.

Welcome to a new installment of Pats Pulpit’s Monday Morning Mock Draft.

Joe Marino, The Draft Network: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Entering free agency with a ton of cap space and a roster full of holes, the Patriots had to be aggressive to improve the talent level in New England. While Cam Newton is back on a one-year deal, the long-term future at quarterback remains a concern. Jones, who was the triggerman for the dynamic Alabama offensive attack under Belichick’s close friend Nick Saban, could be the guy New England tabs to be its quarterback of the future to help maximize its new-look offensive personnel.

The Patriots stay put in Joe Marino’s latest mock draft but are still able to get the consensus QB5 in this year’s class: Alabama’s Mac Jones falls into their lap at No. 15. While his upside appears limited compared to other quarterbacks such as the potential trade-up targets mentioned above, he has proven himself a productive player for the Crimson Tide — one who could be on New England’s radar due to his intelligence in the pocket and good understanding of passing concepts.

Lance Zierlein, NFL Network: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Bill Belichick knows he needs a quarterback of the future, and Jones may fit the profile of what he’s looking for in an accurate, heady signal-caller.

Jones also comes off the board 15th overall in Lance Zierlein’s draft. But while there is a lot to like about him, there are questions. Will his lack of athleticism be an issue in the ever-evolving NFL? Will he be able to transition to the NFL within the help of a supporting cast containing a pair of first-round wide receivers (ie. Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith)? Will the Patriots see him as a fit after just re-signing a different kind of quarterback? If New England feels confident about all of those, Jones could very well end up with the team.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Mac Jones at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    A
    (1461 votes)
  • 32%
    B
    (1204 votes)
  • 17%
    C
    (652 votes)
  • 5%
    D
    (198 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (136 votes)
3651 votes total Vote Now

Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire: S Trevon Moehrig, TCU

Bill Belichick can’t pick a safety in Round One, right? He just can’t. Right?! While Doug Farrar does not offer an explanation as to why New England would go after that position, the team zagging when everybody expects them to zig is nothing new. Add the Patriots’ willingness to stick to their board above all else, and you get a scenario in which adding Moehrig — the best safety in the class and a starting-caliber single high safety from Day One — would make sense to have a replacement for the aging Devin McCourty at the ready.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of S Trevon Moehrig at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    A
    (101 votes)
  • 19%
    B
    (301 votes)
  • 29%
    C
    (441 votes)
  • 24%
    D
    (372 votes)
  • 19%
    F
    (303 votes)
1518 votes total Vote Now

Chris Trapasso, CBS: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Belichick is more than happy to end Surtain’s fall, especially because of his experience in press-man coverage at Alabama.

The Patriots invested in their secondary last week by signing versatile defensive back Jalen Mills to a four-year contract and tendering J.C. Jackson at the second-round level, but the long-term future at cornerback is still uncertain. Jackson is headed for unrestricted free agency next year, while Stephon Gilmore remains a popular trade candidate. If New England wants to solidify the outlook at the position, picking Surtain with the 15th overall selection would make a ton of sense: he is a physical defender who should excel in the team’s man-heavy scheme.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of CB Patrick Surtain II at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    A
    (470 votes)
  • 39%
    B
    (603 votes)
  • 19%
    C
    (296 votes)
  • 7%
    D
    (118 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (59 votes)
1546 votes total Vote Now

Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Rashod Bateman has been largely ignored in this draft class, but there is a better discussion to be had about him being a top-three receiver in this class than being WR5, in my opinion. His fluidity at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, makes for easy transitions in and out of his routes, which creates consistent separation. His double moves are silky smooth, and he’s always been a better athlete than given credit for (until his pro day numbers dropped). The Patriots have 75 receivers and tight ends on the roster now, but Bateman immediately becomes the group’s alpha target.

Even though New England added four skill position players in the first week of free agency — tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry; wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne — the group would benefit from more upgrades. Rashod Bateman would be just that, given that he is a first-round talent capable of offering size and impressive upside on the outside. With N’Keal Harry having failed to develop into a starter-level wideout two years into his professional career, adding Bateman might right some wrongs for the Patriots.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of WR Rashod Bateman at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    A
    (382 votes)
  • 35%
    B
    (912 votes)
  • 29%
    C
    (764 votes)
  • 13%
    D
    (348 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (173 votes)
2579 votes total Vote Now