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Patriots draft preview 2023: Quarterbacks who would make sense for New England

New England could look to add to their quarterback depth chart.

USC v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

As the calendar has flipped to April, it is officially NFL Draft season. With the draft now just three weeks away, it is time to take a position-by-position look at the 2023 prospects.

Let’s get started with the quarterbacks, where the New England Patriots currently have just Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe on the roster.

Round 1

Despite Bill Belichick not publicly backing Mac Jones and recent trade chatter, New England seems set to enter next season with Jones and Bailey Zappe at the top of their QB depth chart. Even if they did want to add a high-end quarterback in the draft, they likely will not have the chance to do so.

By the time the Patriots are on the clock at pick 14, the top four quarterbacks will likely all be off the board. That includes Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, and Kentucky’s Will Levis. Those four should quickly be off the board, which at least should push talented players at other positions down to New England’s first selection.

Day 2

Missouri v Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

After the top four QBs, this class has a steep drop-off at the position. While four quarterbacks could go within the top-10, only two others are projected top-100 picks: Hendon Hooker, who could even rise into the first-round, and Tanner McKee.

Hendon Hooker (Tennessee): Hooker had an outstanding season in the Vols unique, big-play offense last year — once being looked upon as a Heisman favorite before tearing his ACL in November. He has all the physical traits teams look for in a quarterback, but has some processing issues and will have to adjust to a NFL-style system.

Hooker reportedly expects to be ready for the start of the season after the ACL tear, but still will need some grooming and will be a 25-year old rookie, making his timeline questionable from a Patriots’ perspective.

Tanner McKee (Stanford): McKee is a similar prospect to his predecessor at Stanford, Davis Mills, as well as the two quarterbacks New England already has on their roster. He wins with decision-making and accuracy, but lacks elite physical tools. He likely won’t be on the Patriots’ radar due to the redundancy at the position.

Day 3

Where New England will likely add at the position is on Day 3. They typically carry three or four quarterbacks in training camp and should continue to draft here to keep the pipeline fresh — especially as they do not have a clear cut “guy” at QB.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA): One of the most intriguing Day 3 prospects is UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson. A five-year starter for the Bruins under Belichick pal Chip Kelly DTR was a true dual threat weapon. Last season, he threw for 3,154 yards and 27 touchdowns while finishing sixth in the nation in completion percentage. He also added over 600 yards and 12 scores on the ground.

New England got a good look at DTR at the Shrine Bowl and reportedly was impressed. He would be a good addition to the QB room and scout team due to his athletic ability and physical traits.

Clayton Tune (Houston): Tune is another athlete at the position who could pique New England’s interest. Tune was one of the best quarterback testers at the Combine (9.79 RAS) and is coming off a 4,000 yard, 40 touchdown season for the Houston Cougars (PFF’s third ranked college quarterback). Beyond his athletic profile, the rest of his game is more in line with Jones and Zappe, however.

Jaren Hall (BYU): may hear his name called slightly earlier on Day 3 due to his unique physical tools. He has a live arm despite his 6-foot frame and can create out of structure and throw on the move.

Other Day 3 options who largely fit the Jones/Zappe mold include Jake Haener (Fresno State), Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), Aidan O’Connell (Purdue), and Chase Brice (Appalachian State), who they also worked with New England at the Shrine Bowl.