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Monday Morning Mock Draft: Trading up to pick Justin Fields is a popular move for the Patriots

Related: Pat Lane’s seven-round mock draft 2.0: Patriots trade up for a quarterback, just not the one you might think

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Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Justin Fields is one of the most interesting players in this year’s NFL draft. The Ohio State quarterback enters the draft among the premier options at his position. But while arguably the second best passer behind only projected number one overall selection Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), his stock has taken a hit in recent weeks: depending on who you ask, Fields could go off the board anywhere between No. 2 or outside of the top-10.

The New England Patriots, slated to pick 15th overall, are likely too far down the board to land the 22-year-old. That said, a move up the board could help them bring him aboard and address the most prominent need on the current roster. With that said, let’s dig into this week’s version of our Monday Morning Mock Draft.

Henry McKenna, Patriots Wire: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

New England gets a quarterback who has proven he can move through his progressions against the top defense in the country, who can handle the rigors of pressure by winning a national championship and who can create (with a 4.44-second 40-yard dash) when plays break down. Fields is absolutely worth the cost. New England can develop him behind Cam Newton — but the most likely outcome is that Fields would start at some point during the 2021 season.

In this scenario laid out by Patriots beat writer Henry McKenna, the Patriots make a trade with the Atlanta Falcons to jump into the fourth overall spot. New England gives up its original first-rounder as well as a second-round pick (No. 46) and first- and third-round selections in 2022. The price may be steep, but it is considerably cheaper than what the San Francisco 49ers had to pay to move from No. 12 to No. 3.

Peter Schrager, NFL Network: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

This would be a trade that rocks the NFL, but I don’t think it’s too crazy. The Patriots don’t envision having a pick as high as they currently do (15th) anytime soon, and this is their year to make a big move if they’re ever going to get their blue-chip QB to develop. Fields was a highly recruited player who performed on the biggest of stages. This year’s first- and second-rounder (No. 46) plus next year’s first and third could be enough for New England to get Atlanta to move back 11 spots.

NFL Network’s Peter Schrager proposes the same parameters for a trade with the Falcons as Henry McKenna. The question in both scenarios is whether or not it would be worth it. Such an argument can be made, though, not just due to the comparison with the 49ers trade: Fields is an impressive but raw talent who would benefit from a year behind Cam Newton to line the Patriots’ system. While giving up a future first-round pick is expensive, doing so would ensure New England gets one of the highest-ceiling players in this year’s draft — all at the most important position on the field.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Justin Fields at No. 4?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    A
    (506 votes)
  • 20%
    B
    (179 votes)
  • 9%
    C
    (82 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (35 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (53 votes)
855 votes total Vote Now

Ben Linsey, Pro Football Focus: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

New England’s aggressiveness in free agency indicates that this team has no plans of tearing things down and rebuilding. Cam Newton is in place to be the guy at quarterback again in 2021, but it’s hard to see him being there beyond next season. ... Jones is the last consensus first-round talent at the position. His accuracy and control of that Alabama offense should be draws for New England, who can’t necessarily sit back and wait for him to drop to the 15th overall pick with teams such as Washington and Chicago potentially looking to move up. Dallas could be a willing trade partner with Pitts and Surtain off the board already in this scenario.

If the Patriots are unable to grab a top-four QB — Lawrence, Fields, Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State) — Mac Jones would be a quality target as well. In this scenario that is exactly who they go after, moving up the board with the Dallas Cowboys to pick Jones. No terms of the projected trade are offered, but moving from No. 15 to No. 10 will cost a lot less than moving to No. 4 in a trade with Atlanta. New England might prefer the value of such a move, despite Jones not having the same high ceiling as Fields or the other top-four guys.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Mac Jones at No. 10?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    A
    (149 votes)
  • 35%
    B
    (225 votes)
  • 24%
    C
    (156 votes)
  • 6%
    D
    (44 votes)
  • 9%
    F
    (59 votes)
633 votes total Vote Now

Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Finally, it’s time for Smith. Sometimes it becomes essentially a coin flip for one guy versus another, and one obviously has to lose out. Smith just kept losing the coin flip for me, but he has a ton of value here. Julian Edelman is turning 35, and there’s still room for playmakers in the wide receivers room after the Patriots signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. If Smith is gone, cornerback could be in play too.

Former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum did not make any trades in his mock draft, and thus ended with the Patriots picking one of Mac Jones’ wide receivers at Alabama. Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith is one of the top wideouts available, and would immediately give New England a true developmental WR1.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of WR DeVonta Smith at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    A
    (721 votes)
  • 24%
    B
    (310 votes)
  • 12%
    C
    (154 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (38 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (37 votes)
1260 votes total Vote Now

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State

The Patriots have been bold this offseason, so I won’t be shocked if they decide to trade up for a quarterback. If they stay put, Parsons has the versatility to fit in New England.

Much of the focus during this year’s pre-draft cycle is on the offensive side of the ball and the quarterback position in particular, but it would not be a surprise if New England decides to invest in a successor for long-time starting linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Micah Parsons would be just that, with his versatility and size perfectly suited to fill the move role within the Patriots’ flexible scheme.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of LB Micah Parsons at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    A
    (1064 votes)
  • 31%
    B
    (618 votes)
  • 8%
    C
    (160 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (50 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (51 votes)
1943 votes total Vote Now

Matt Dolloff, 98.5 The Sports Hub: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

This pick starts the clock on Stephon Gilmore, and/or J.C. Jackson, in New England. The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn is practically a Gilmore clone. Jaycee stands at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, excels in press-man coverage, and shares an alma mater with the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year. He has experience playing a variety of coverages and lining up both inside and outside, too. The Patriots would clearly be pegging Horn as their No. 1 corner of the future, perhaps as soon as the second half of the 2021 season.

The Patriots to be well set at cornerback, but the future at the position beyond 2021 is murky. Jaycee Horn, as Matt Dolloff states, would start the clock on the team moving on from one or both of its starting corners next offseason. Horn is a future CB1 who would one day help replace what Gilmore brought to the table ever since arriving in New England in 2017.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of CB Jaycee Horn at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    A
    (671 votes)
  • 36%
    B
    (628 votes)
  • 15%
    C
    (269 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (84 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (58 votes)
1710 votes total Vote Now