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Monday Morning Mock Draft: What if the Patriots don’t pick a quarterback in Round One?

Related: Todd McShay mock draft: Patriots trade up to get their quarterback of the future

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South Carolina v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The New England Patriots need to find a long-term solution at quarterback; team owner Robert Kraft said so himself last week. Picking 15th overall in this year’s draft, however, there is no guarantee a viable option will be around or within a realistic range for a trade up the board.

So, what if New England does not end up drafting a quarterback in the first round? The team does have some intriguing options as this week’s Monday Morning Mock Draft roundup shows (and don’t worry, there are some QB picks in this one as well).

Kevin Nogle, The Phinsider: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State

This is actually the first pick that caused me some difficulty. I really have no idea what the Patriots will do here. The quarterbacks are off the board, so now it just comes down to best value available. That is probably Parsons.

With Dont’a Hightower on the wrong side of 30, and no other off-the-ball linebacker on New England’s roster having shown starting-caliber upside at this point, investing in the hyper-versatile Micah Parsons would be a good plan. Parsons is one of the top linebacker prospects in this year’s draft, and while raw could be an impact player from the get-go with the long-term outlook of possibly taking over Hightower’s role at one point in the future.

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

Seth Galina, Pro Football Focus: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Bateman really should be among the “big four” pass-catchers in this class, as the film and numbers paint an incredible picture of the young receiver. The Patriots would get tremendous value out of whoever of the five receivers/tight ends fall to them at Pick 15. The Pats did upgrade their receiving corps this offseason, but is there a true no-questions-asked No. 1 receiver? There isn’t, but there could be with Rashod Bateman or even Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle.

A popular mock draft selection for the Patriots, Rashod Bateman would give the team what it hoped it would get out of former first-round pick N’Keal Harry: a number one wide receiver with an intriguing athletic profile. The question is whether or not New England would feel comfortable investing more high-end resources in its receiving corps after already signing two top-tier tight ends and a pair of starter-level wide receivers in free agency. Better value might be found in the second or third rounds.

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

Evan Lazar, CLSN Media & Alex Barth, 98.5 The Spors Hub: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

What is likely however, is that both Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson aren’t on the Patriots roster come the 2022 NFL season. Here we have a great opportunity for the Patriots to take a cornerback with South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn still on the board. Horn “oozes everything that the Patriots want at cornerback,” says Lazar. “Press man, physical at the line of scrimmage, plays the ball well down the field, has an alpha mentality and wants to take the number one receiver.” ... [I]f you don’t take Jaycee Horn here, you won’t find talent like him elsewhere. On top of this, “corner is a much bigger need than people realize” for the Patriots, according to Alex Barth. The guys turned the card in for the plug-and-play cornerback from South Carolina.

New England has one of the best cornerback groups in football, but it faces some questions beyond the 2021 season: starting boundary cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson are both unrestricted free agents and no locks to be back next year. The Patriots have never shied away from addressing needs a year early, and Jaycee Horn would be the perfect player to help them do that this year.

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

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports: DE Kwity Paye, Michigan

With all the top quarterbacks off the board, the Patriots take the best player available to help their defense. Paye is a traditional defensive end who has incredible explosiveness off the edge and makes an immediate impact for their pass rush. He’s raw, but can blossom into a star.

Despite bringing in Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy in free agency, and with Chase Winovich and Josh Uche already on the roster as well, the Patriots’ front seven might benefit from another edge presence. Kwity Paye is just that, and would add something the other players do not possess: Paye has a sky-high ceiling due to his impressive athletic profile. The rest of New England’s pass rush arsenal wins due to technique and smarts; Paye wins because he is just a better athlete than the players he goes up against.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of DE Kwity Paye at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    A
    (315 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (457 votes)
  • 25%
    C
    (299 votes)
  • 7%
    D
    (94 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (30 votes)
1195 votes total Vote Now

Hayden Winks, Yahoo Sports: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

Bill Belichick says get outta here with the racially-driven tropes and trades up for his new franchise quarterback. Cam Newton has been Fields’ mentor for years, and the Patriots have already set up an offense that would play to Fields’ traits as a dual-threat quarterback. His cap-savings rookie contract will allow Belichick to surround him with established veterans. The Lions are a potential trade down team with the QB-needy Panthers and Broncos picking eighth and ninth.

As pointed out above, some quarterbacks are also part of this week’s Monday Morning Mock Draft. Both of them are projected to be brought in via trade up, though. The first is Ohio State’s Justin Fields, whose stock has seemingly taken a hit lately but who has a strong case as the second best quarterback in this year’s draft behind only presumptive number one overall selection Trevor Lawrence. In this scenario, Fields falls out of the top-six and New England moves up the board to snatch him. No terms of the trade are specified in this mock, however, which makes it tough to evaluate. Moving up to the seventh overall selection would be cheaper than trading into the fourth spot, though. Speaking of which...

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Justin Fields at No. 7?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    A
    (967 votes)
  • 15%
    B
    (198 votes)
  • 4%
    C
    (62 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (35 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (39 votes)
1301 votes total Vote Now

Austin Gayle, Pro Football Focus: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

While it’s enticing to stay put at No. 4 and secure the best non-quarterback in the class, Atlanta would be foolish to not sell the pick to the highest bidder looking to come up for Lance or even Jones. ... New England will need to give up a lot of draft capital to do it, but it doesn’t have much of a choice. The Patriots likely won’t be drafting in the top 15 again in the Belichick era, especially after improving as much as they did this offseason. They’re in a very similar spot as San Francisco in that both teams have too good of coaches to ever draft in the top five but also too middling of quarterbacks to ever go the full distance. Get aggressive, bet on Belichick and add a cost-controlled rookie contract at quarterback to balance the free agency decisions and give the team a high-ceiling prospect at the most important position in football.

In this scenario, the Patriots make a trade with the Atlanta Falcons to grab Trey Lance. New England would give up “at least two future top-50 picks” to make the move, which would be similar to what the San Francisco 49ers had to surrender in order to move from No. 12 to No. 3. Trading into the fourth spot would allow the Patriots to pick between two or maybe even three of the top five passers in this year’s class — something that will highly likely not be the case if they stay put at No. 15.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Trey Lance at No. 4?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    A
    (615 votes)
  • 28%
    B
    (357 votes)
  • 12%
    C
    (156 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (56 votes)
  • 5%
    F
    (65 votes)
1249 votes total Vote Now