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#PostPulpit Mailbag: Will New England add another quarterback in the draft?

You asked, Brian Hines answered.

Tennessee v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

We are officially less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft. As we inch closer and closer, let’s jump into this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag to break things down.

Who is your pick for Pats Hall of Fame? - Henry

Let’s start here before we jump into draft talk. The Patriots announced Logan Mankins, Mike Vrabel, and Bill Parcells as their three finalists for the team Hall of Fame on Thursday. My vote is going to Vrabel and I believe he should have already been elected in years ago.

My main grudge with the finalists is the absence of Wes Welker. It seems like the Super Bowl failures or some of his issues with Belichick diminish his accomplishments on the field, which were dominant. Welker left New England as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions with 672 and revolutionized the slot position. I have my doubts he’ll ever be elected, but he certainly deserves it.

@techno_viking87 I’m sold on a tackle at this point. Am I wrong?

Nope. They need to add more at the tackle position and that is likely the current favorite for pick No. 14. While they bolstered their depth and may be able to start Trent Brown and Riley Reiff, both players have serious question marks and aren't signed beyond this season. I’d also be in the camp of doubling up at the position throughout the draft.

Another reason I support them going tackle in the first round is whatever player they draft first should be playing a high percentage immediately. Any tackle picked at 14 overall should be an immediate Day 1 starter, whereas a cornerback or wide receiver will join a crowded room.

@TomShady300 WRs or LBs?

While this year’s draft class is weaker at both positions than year’s past, it is still wide receiver. It’s a bigger need on this roster and a more talented group of players.

With that being said, I would still be surprised if they add at either position in the first round. I’m looking in the middle rounds for them at receiver with players like Purdue’s Charlie Jones or Michigan’s Ronnie Bell. At inside linebacker late in the draft, Utah’s Mo Diabate, Cincinnati’s Ivan Pace, Oregon’s Noah Sewell, and N.C. State’s Isaiah Moore project as potential fits.

@FJB_FOF If they trade down for a extra 2nd…Jack Campbell in the 2nd?

I am a fan of Iowa’s Jack Campbell. He has the size (6-foot-4, 249 pounds) New England likes at the linebacker position and is an incredible athlete. Campbell absolutely dominated the Combine with a 9.98 Relative Athletic Score.

The issue is that he is a projected second-round pick. The Patriots have not taken a true off-ball linebacker in the top-100 since Dont’a Hightower in 2012. With Ja’Whaun Bentley playing great football and Jahlani Tavai, Raekwon McMillan, and Mack Wilson back for depth purposes, now may not be the time they snap that trend.

@PatriotsEZ The Patriots are likely taking QB at some point in the draft, right? Who are the most likely targets?

As I was typing out that I would be surprised if the Patriots did not add another quarterback this offseason, they signed veteran Trace McShorley. With the offseason program starting next week he is another arm that also provides some mobility at the position.

Looking ahead to the draft, I would still expect them to add another QB. They have carried four quarterbacks through training camp before and I am in the camp of always drafting one due to the positional value.

Past history suggests New England likes to take their quarterbacks within the top-150 (Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, Jarrett Stidham, Bailey Zappe, etc.). I would also hope they look to add someone with more of a physical upside than the current combo on top of their depth chart.

That leads us to UCLA’a Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Patriots have spent tons of time with DTR throughout the pre-draft process and he has that dual-threat skillset that should interest them. BYU’s Jaren Hall is another later option that has some intriguing physical traits.

@BigBob13208806 Any chance Hendon Hooker is still there when the Pats pick in the second round? Would love the Pats to snatch him up.

Hooker is another one of the QBs that has more physical upside than Jones and Zappe. But, he also has his concerns coming from a unique Tennessee offense and seemed to have some processing issues last season. Also, he is coming off an ACL tear and will be a 25-year-old rookie. For a guy who likely wouldn't play in New England this season unless all hell breaks loose, probably not worth a top-50 investment.

@PatsSTH1969 Do you agree or disagree that the Tier 1 of the draft ends at 13 and Tier 2 is interchangeable to pick 50? Trade back you say? Not unless a Top 4 QB falls, Hendon Hooker flies Higher or Bijan Robinson is a must have for some team?

I’d agree that it is a deeper class instead of top-heavy. Team’s will likely have players ranked very differently from say that 15-to-50 range. That could open the door for a trade back from New England, but it could also lead to a top talent falling a bit. If someone like Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez falls as a result of a run on QBs or several surprise picks like Texas running back Bijan Robinson, New England should run up the card.

@RochesterPats I have two and hope you can please answer both. Who are your top three fullback/h-back(te) prospects for the vacant fullback position? Does Khalan Labron, Marshall or David Durden UWF bring any value on day three?

New England has not added a fullback throughout the offseason, which could mean they again plan to not feature the position in their offense. But, if they are waiting until the draft they will have some options.

Oregon State’s Jack Colletto, who they worked with at the Shrine Bowl, is a top fit. Colletto was a two-way player for the Beavers and took home the Paul Hornung Award, which is awarded to the most versatile player in college football, last season. Marcus Jones was the recipient in 2021.

The top fullback available is likely North Dakota State’s Hunter Luepke, who was a four-year collegiate starter and also played on all four kicking units. Derek Parish from Houston would round out my top three as another two-way player who they saw at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

As for the two prospects, I could see Khalan Labron as a potential running back fit late on Day Three or as a UDFA. Labron was a former five-star high school recruit who was heavily recruited and was productive (1,500+ yards, 16 TDs) in his one-year as a starter for Marshall. Those are two things New England has gravitated to in the past, especially at the running back position.

That’s all for this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag. If you have questions you’d liked to be answered next week, submit them on Twitter using #PostPulpit! Make sure to be following @iambrianhines and @PatsPulpit as well!