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Even with Mac Jones on the board, Patriots pick a different quarterback in recent 2021 NFL redraft

Related: Mac Jones is confident he can ‘take the offense to the next level’

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

One of the most popular and inherently ridiculous exercises of every NFL offseason is shuffling the cards of a previous draft anew and having each team pick again with the knowledge already acquired since then. CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso did just that this week and his results are interesting, to say the least.

The New England Patriots do go after a quarterback with the 15th overall selection, and in this scenario have multiple options. One of them is Mac Jones, who had an impressive rookie season with the team.

However, Trapasso has the Patriots look elsewhere. It makes sense, given that hyper-talented Justin Fields is also still on the... Oh gosh, it is Davis Mills!

Yes, with both Jones and Fields still available the team picks a QB who eventually was selected 67th overall by the Houston Texans. Why would they do that? The explanation is as follows:

The Patriots go with Mills over Jones because of the Texans quarterback’s upside.

Mills did have a solid rookie season on an atrocious Texans team, and he likely would have been an option for the Patriots as well had they not drafted Jones in the first round. That said, the argument about upside is a curious one given how the 2021 season went.

While Mills may have more enticing athletic traits and potentially a higher ceiling (although that can very much be debated), there is no arguing with the results: Jones did play very well with the Patriots as a rookie, and had a better season than Mills or any other first-year QB.

Them going for a project like Mills — even with one solid season to make that argument — would seem highly unlikely. If anything, if the Patriots truly wanted to go upside here rather than a skillset fitting their offense, they would have picked Justin Fields. Instead, they let him on the board and he went 20th to Chicago.

Jones, meanwhile, went 19th to the now-Washington Commanders:

Jones goes later than expected, because as the season progressed, it was made more obvious that he was being held up by a very conservative Patriots offense in 2021. He certainly had an encouraging rookie season though, so the Commanders can’t pass on him here.

Another Patriot also comes off the board in the first round in this redraft: defensive lineman Christian Barmore. The Baltimore Ravens pick him 27th overall:

The Ravens have to get better on the interior given Calais Campbell’s age. Barmore was the best rookie defensive tackle in 2021.

If not for the Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons delivering one of the better rookie seasons in recent memory, Barmore might very well have been the frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. The Patriots traded up in the second round to pick him, even though most pre-draft projections had him coming off the board on Day 1.

Barmore getting picked in the first round of this redraft does make sense. The Patriots’ pick at No. 15, however, does not.