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2021 Patriots draft profile: Is Jamie Newman a quarterback project worth investing in?

Related: Patriots draft profile: Is Amari Rodgers what New England is looking for at wide receiver?

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Michigan State v Wake Forest Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins may or may not be conspiring against the New England Patriots. The two teams completed a trade on March 26th that saw the 49ers receive the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft in exchange for the 12th pick, and two future firsts. The consequences of this trade could be detrimental to the Patriots’ — perceived — pursuit in a top-five quarterback in this draft.

Three quarterbacks will go in the top three picks, leaving only two left on the board in the 11 picks until the Patriots are on the clock. The Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Denver Broncos could all select a quarterback in that span. So with the Patriots’ chances of landing a top-five guy looking slim even after the Sam Darnold trade, what are some of the other options they could take?

Would they consider a pro-style quarterback who’s risen up draft boards in recent weeks like Davis Mills? Perhaps they take a stab at Kellen Mond, who flashed greatness throughout his college career and has been in constant contact with the team. Maybe they even take a four-year starter like Sam Ehlinger who could always fall back into a position switch.

Or, perhaps they take a shot at someone who could benefit greatly from learning behind Cam Newton.

Name: Jamie Newman

Position: Quarterback

School: Wake Forest/Georgia (Senior)

Opening day age: 23

2019 stats: 10 games; 220-for-361 (60.9%), 26 touchdowns, 11 interceptions

Size: 6’3”, 235 lbs

Expected round: 3rd/4th

Strengths: Newman is a tremendously well-built prospect who has the arm talent and baseline skills that NFL teams look for out of a project quarterback.

He is extremely patient and tough inside the pocket, and works through his progressions effectively enough to where you don’t have to worry about the unforced mistakes. It may take time for him to get to his read, but Newman won’t panic and chuck the ball just to get rid of it.

When he gets out of the pocket, Newman looks just as comfortable. His big frame and plus mobility gave the Wake Forest offense more opportunities to run RPOs and play action concepts. Throwing on the move never took anything off of Newman’s passes or made them any less accurate, it just narrowed his options down and made him a better player.

As a runner, Newman is perfectly adequate. Strong and not afraid of contact, he is especially effective in short yardage situations and on RPOs. He should get plenty of opportunity to do that at the next level.

Weaknesses: All of the things you have heard about Justin Fields’ struggles to work through reads in recent weeks are true of Newman. He takes forever to get through all five of them and though he won’t make unforced mistakes, he gives defenses plenty of opportunities to force them.

As a result of those struggles, Wake Forest did a lot to limit his decision making by cutting off parts of the field and running a spread offense that made Newman’s decisions for him. That likely won’t happen for Newman in the pros.

What would be his role? There is no doubt that Newman is a developmental prospect. He will likely be asked to play a role that is similar to what Jacoby Brissett did in 2016. As a second/third string player he will be tasked with running a lot of scout team stuff while working on developing as a pro QB. A dream scenario for all involved.

Who’s his competition? Could he push for a backup job in New England? Yes. Jarrett Stidham has had more than enough opportunity to seize the starting job and hasn’t quite been able to do so. If Newman is better in camp there will not be much of a reason to keep both.

Why the Patriots? The possibility of Newman ending up in New England is entirely reliant upon whether or not they can trade up into the top-10 to draft a quarterback. If they cannot and exit Round One without a passer, Newman is the exact kind of player they would target — a guy who could serve as an impactful backup while developing under a player (Cam Newton) with similar physical tools.

Why not the Patriots? New England needs to trade up for a guy with the ability to be a long-term solution. They do not have time to develop a player for more than one season, which is what Newman would need.

Verdict: The New England Patriots will draft a quarterback this year. I just can’t sign off on them waiting past their first selection.