Night one of the NFL Draft has come and gone, and boy oh boy was it a doozy. The New England Patriots got what is expected to be their next franchise quarterback in Mac Jones, and did so without needing to make a move up to get him. The pick certainly has a long-term impact on the franchise, but will also have a ripple effect on the current roster and the players that occupy it.
We will see more moves tonight that will give clarity to the overall strategy in which the 2021 team will be built, but for now we can take a look at the players who were influenced most by the big move on day one.
Winner: QB Mac Jones
Talk about the best case scenario for a player.
Mac Jones will be entering a system that shares tremendous similarities to the one in which he ran during his time at Alabama, with a phenomenal group of mentors in Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, and Cam Newton, all while being afforded time to learn the playbook and wait for the best opportunity possible to see in game action for the first time. While the Patriots work through the kinks of finding their way with new talent and a new system, Jones can sit back and learn from everything happening around him.
Loser: QB Jarrett Stidham
It’s safe to say that the Patriots aren’t handing the reins over to Jarrett Stidham anytime soon.
After a year of Patriots fans clamoring for their team to give Stidham a chance, New England did the exact opposite by taking another quarterback to serve as their future franchise guy. Not only does this close the door on the “Stidham is better than Cam” crowd, but it diminishes his training camp reps by a great deal and firmly solidifies him into the long term backup QB role. It is now a proven fact that the Patriots don’t view Stidham as the next starting quarterback, but we all knew that already.
Winner: The Weapons
A new guy to catch passes from? It’s like Christmas!
Though most of the Patriots offseason additions were of the multi-year variety, many if not all of them had to question who would be delivering the ball to them in the long term. Now they have an answer. While Cam Newton takes the majority of game snaps in 2021, the pass catchers will be able to build a rapport everyday at practice and in the meeting rooms with their future signal caller. In 2022 they will be able to hit the ground running with a guy in which they have familiarity.
Winner: Bill Belichick
Though many of us may not like it, he got his guy.
As the clock ticked on the 11th overall pick, the realization began to come in that someone was moving up for Justin Fields. That someone ended up being the Chicago Bears — who took yet another shot at a future franchise guy — and not the New England Patriots. They had their eye on someone else all along. Belichick’s old friend Nick Saban had a guy sitting in the green room with “Draft Me Bill” written on his forehead, and Bill didn’t pass.
As we said on the Pats Pulpit NFL Draft Live Stream, Bill got his guy, and that is good enough for us.
Winner: QB Cam Newton
“You’re a crazy man, Keagan” you all say screaming at me through your laptop screens.
Cam Newton has been given a golden opportunity to prove his worth to potential suitors in the 2021 free agent market. As Bill Belichick stated, Cam is the Patriots starting Quarterback.
“Cam’s our quarterback. Whatever time Jarrett or Mac are ready to challenge and compete, then we’ll see how that goes.” — Bill Belichick pic.twitter.com/5TmzUU6ZyW— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) April 30, 2021
With a player breathing down his neck, Cam will be given the opportunity to show that he has more than enough left in the tank on field, and is a reliable leader off of it. Even if at the very least all Cam is good for is being a solid mentor to a young QB, he has worth on an NFL roster.
BONUS WINNERS AND LOSERS!
Loser: Las Vegas Raiders
Alex Leatherwood was ranked as the 44th ranked prospect on The Athletic’s big board. The Las Vegas Raiders went ahead and took him with the 17th overall pick. That’s an overdraft in every sense of the word. Mike Mayock has a type.
Loser: New York Jets
Not only did the Jets take a huge risk at QB with the second overall pick, but they traded up for a guard when a top three tackle was still on the board. Jets gonna Jets.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings wanted Christian Darrisaw, they also wanted to trade back and gather some more picks. Why not do both?
Bonus Bonus Winners: Patriots fans.
NO MORE QB SPECULATION!!!!!!