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Monday Morning Mock Draft: Mac Jones still the favorite to become the Patriots’ first-round pick

Related: How Friday’s NFL trade bonanza impacts the Patriots

Alabama v LSU Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The NFL’s draft landscape was shaken up quite a bit before the weekend. The San Francisco 49ers moved up to the third overall spot in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, before Miami moved back up from No. 12 to No. 6 in an exchange with the Philadelphia Eagles.

From the New England Patriots’ perspective, the first of the two trades was the most interesting one. The 49ers investing three total first-round draft choices to climb nine spots, after all, sets the baseline for similar trades and also all but ensures that San Francisco picks a quarterback in Round One next month.

This also means that there is now a realistic chance that the top-three selections all end up being QBs: Trevor Lawrence is projected to go first overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, with the New York Jets the favorites to pick Zach Wilson one pick later. Accordingly, the 49ers could go with either Justin Fields or Trey Lance which would leave only one of the best four quarterbacks in this year’s class on the board after the first three teams.

A look at our latest mock draft roundup, however, shows that New England is projected to go in another direction entirely — at least at quarterback.

Josh Edwards, CBS: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Atlanta receives No. 15 and No. 46 overall / New England receives No. 9, No. 113 and No. 151 overall. New England has filled essentially every hole on the roster sans quarterback. It is hard to envision Bill Belichick being excited about the idea of running it back with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham. Mac Jones is a smart player that should benefit from having a solid collection of offensive talent around him in Foxboro.

Josh Edwards’ latest mock draft has New England swing a trade as well, investing its first- and second-round selections to climb from No. 15 to No. 9 to pick Mac Jones. The trade itself would be a good one from the Patriots’ perspective, despite the gaping hole it would create between picks No. 9 and No. 96 in the third round: not giving up a future first to trade up should be considered a win from New England’s point of view.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Mac Jones at No. 9?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    A
    (388 votes)
  • 31%
    B
    (275 votes)
  • 15%
    C
    (134 votes)
  • 5%
    D
    (50 votes)
  • 4%
    F
    (36 votes)
883 votes total Vote Now

Nick Farabaugh, Pro Football Network: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

The Patriots attacked the offseason like it was nobody’s business. However, the quarterback position is still a question mark. Cam Newton is back, but he is not a certainty for anything in the future. Thus, with Mac Jones still on the board and waiting there in this 4-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft, Bill Belichick goes to a familiar style of a quarterback with Jones. The surroundings that Jones will walk into in New England are ideal for his success. He has a nice group of weapons, and the offensive line is strong and cohesive.

Jones remains a popular pre-draft projection for the Patriots even though he lacks the same athletic upside as the four passers mentioned above. They all come off the board before him in this scenario, leaving New England to grab him at No. 15. In turn, he would join, as is mentioned by Nick Farabaugh, a favorable environment: Cam Newton is the projected QB1 heading into the season, with Jones a developmental prospect behind him.

Gentry Estes, The Tennessean: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

I’m still not sure what to make of Jones, who was spectacularly productive at Alabama with a ton of weapons on his offense. He might not have all the physical tools that an NFL team wants in a first-round pick, but a lot of teams have reason to draft a capable QB, and the Patriots are one of them.

Quarterbacks go 1-2-3-9 in this scenario, with Lawrence, Wilson and Lance the first three off the board; Justin Fields goes ninth overall to Denver. The Patriots, again, decide to stay put and end up with Jones — despite some high-level talents such as offensive tackle Rashawn Slater or linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah still on the board.

George Carmi, Full Press Coverage: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

I’m torn here. On one hand, Bill Belichick earned his stripes by being one of the smartest defensive minds in football. He loves players like Teddy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, and even Lawerence Taylor. So the need for linebacker is real in New England. But I also know that Belichick values a quarterback, either as a starter or as a trade commodity in the future. I see Belichick falling in love with Mac Jones’ leadership and savvy. He also will like his mental capacity of diagnosing defenses and quick decisions. Jones goes to NE here. But I’m not happy about it. I got a strong feeling “Jimmy GQ” will be donning the red, white and blue come fall.

While the Jimmy Garoppolo factor cannot be left out, the 49ers are indicating that they will not part ways with him just yet. And from New England’s perspective, going after a rookie to groom behind Newton might be the best course of action anyway: Garoppolo will cost considerably more and might not be a safer long-term projection given his extensive injury history.

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

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman may be traded or released before long — so adding a true slot and return specialist like Waddle makes a lot of sense for the Patriots, even after the free-agent additions of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.

Whereas the first four mocks all have New England go after Mac Jones, one of his pass catchers is the target in this one. The Patriots stay put to add one of the best wideouts in college football at No. 15: Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle, who finished his three year career in Tuscaloosa with 106 catches for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns. Despite coming off an injury-shortened season — Waddle suffered a fractured right ankle that later required surgery — he is possibly the top wide receiver talent in this year’s draft.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of WR Jaylen Waddle at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    A
    (556 votes)
  • 29%
    B
    (325 votes)
  • 12%
    C
    (140 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (44 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (28 votes)
1093 votes total Vote Now

Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

We started this week’s mock draft roundup with a trade up to the ninth overall selection, and we will end with one. In this scenario that was not analyzed further, the Patriots are making a trade with the Denver Broncos to move up. They don’t target for a quarterback, however, but rather Jaylen Waddle. Despite Mac Jones still being on the board, New England decides to go in another direction; Jones eventually gets drafted by Chicago with the 20th overall pick.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of WR Jaylen Waddle at No. 9?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    A
    (83 votes)
  • 20%
    B
    (88 votes)
  • 28%
    C
    (122 votes)
  • 15%
    D
    (64 votes)
  • 15%
    F
    (64 votes)
421 votes total Vote Now