The New England Patriots were able to get a second look at one first-round quarterback prospect in this year’s draft already, sending head coach/general manager Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to Tuscaloosa to watch Alabama’s Mac Jones throw at the Crimson Tide’s Pro Day No 2. Now, the team will get another shot to see more of another QB expected to come off the board early later this month.
As first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, New England is among two teams — the other being the San Francisco 49ers — to visit the second Pro Day of Ohio State passer Justin Fields. The session will take place on Wednesday, April 14, and it would not be a surprise if at least one of Belichick and McDaniels was present for it as well.
Of course, the Patriots already personally scouted Lance during his first Pro Day last month. Back then, New England sent scouting consultant Eliot Wolf to Columbus to keep a close eye on one of the premier quarterback talents available in this year’s draft.
The personnel sent by the club might not be the only change this week, though.
Whereas traditional Pro Days are scripted by a player’s throwing coach — in Fields’ case former NFL quarterback John Beck — the tentative plan at the moment is for the NFL personnel present to play a more active role in running the session. Considering that private workouts are not permitted this offseason due to Covid-19 protocols, this might give teams a better look at the 22-year-old.
Fields is entering this year’s draft as a member of the top-five quarterback group, all of which projected to come off the board on Day 1. The aforementioned Mac Jones is also part of it, as are Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
As for Lance, he will hold a second Pro Day on Monday, April 19. The Patriots attended the first such session in the form of national scout Matt Groh.
Both of those quarterbacks, just like Jones, have been linked to New England in the past. The Patriots, after all, are in need of a long-term solution at the most important position on the field after struggling to properly replace the departed Tom Brady last year. Cam Newton filled in as the starter, but was unable to successfully lead one of the weakest passing attacks in the NFL. He was, however, re-signed to a one-year contract last month.
When it comes to the draft, New England is slated to select 15th overall — and might have to trade up in order to get themselves in position to bring Fields in.