Bill Belichick historically favors trading down in Round 1, but the Patriots are already making plans to move up to land a falling quarterback.
The Patriots’ need for a long-term answer at quarterback has the franchise acting out of character. First, New England spent a fortune in free agency. Now, Bill Belichick and the team’s brain trust may be set to defy their historical tendencies to trade up in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
The object of the team’s affection seems to be Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Recent draft rumors claim he could be set to tumble outside the top 10. The Patriots have already contacted both the Falcons and Panthers about how much it might cost to move up into their draft slot to stop a potential Field’s slide.
The Patriots are reportedly trying to trade for a quarterback
The Falcons currently own the No. 4 overall selection. Despite Atlanta’s need for a long-term successor to Matt Ryan, they seem to be zeroed in on taking one of the top non-quarterbacks available in this year’s class. It’s easy to understand why the Falcons might be tempted to move back if they can extract a premium from New England or another team desperate to move up for a quarterback.
Carolina’s intentions at the position are more difficult to read. Team officials have been adamant that trading for Sam Darnold won’t stop them from taking a quarterback they believe has star potential at No. 8. It’s possible those statements are just a smokescreen designed to force a quarterback-needy team like New England to make a trade rather than trusting the Panthers to take a player at a different position.
In a perfect world, the Patriots would simply stay put at No. 15 and wait for an elite quarterback prospect to fall into their laps. The rest of the league is too smart to let that happen though. If New England wants to find their next franchise quarterback in this year’s draft, they’ll need to part with value draft capital to move up into the top-10.