By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — When the Patriots finished the season 7-9 and ended up with the 15th overall pick in the upcoming draft, the general consensus was that the team wouldn’t be landing its quarterback of the future with that selection. When it came time for Bill Belichick to make that pick, all the first-round quarterbacks would be off the board.
Enter Todd McShay’s first mock draft of the mocking season. According to the ESPN mocker, there will not be the QB feeding frenzy at the top of the draft that many are predicting, which means one of those talented passers will fall to the Patriots at No. 15: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Now, a lot will have to break New England’s way for this to actually play out. And by that, we mean six (SIX!) QB-needy teams ahead of New England would have to elect to address other needs on their roster. The odds are high that Fields will not be available for New England at No. 15, and neither will North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, whom McShay has going to Washington at No. 19.
But in McShay’s mock universe, the Jets (OT Penei Sewell at No. 2), the Lions (WR Ja’Marr Chase at No. 7), the Panthers (TE Kyle Pitts at No. 8), the Broncos (LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at No. 9), the 49ers (CB Caleb Farley at No. 12) and the Vikings (OT Christian Darrisaw at No. 14) all pass on quarterbacks, leaving Fields for the Patriots at No. 15.
Did you enjoy that chuckle? Maybe write it down in your journal so you can laugh again later. The odds of all of that happening, even for something as unpredictable as the NFL Draft, are reallllllllllllllly slim. But McShay is telling New England there’s a chance, and he likes the idea of Fields in a Patriots uniform.
“But what a nice fit Fields makes in New England,” McShay wrote Thursday. “The Patriots tied the Giants for the fewest passing touchdowns in the NFL this season with 12, and New England joined the Broncos as the only teams with more interceptions thrown than TDs (14). Cam Newton, who was largely ineffective this season, will turn 32 in May and is set to be a free agent again. Jarrett Stidham doesn’t appear to be the guy, either. Tom Brady is no longer walking through that door, and it’s a different era for the Patriots’ passing offense. But Fields would change that, with plenty of zip on his vertical shots and an ability to create when things break down.”
Fields would certainly be a great option for the Patriots. In 21 games over his two seasons at Ohio State, Fields completed 69 percent of his passes for 5,179 yards and 62 touchdowns, and he threw just nine interceptions. Fields won a lot of games too, going 20-1 as the Buckeyes starting quarterback. His only loss came against Clemson in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl.
We know the Patriots will be drafting a quarterback at some point this year, and likely signing a veteran to join Stidham — the only QB signed through next season. A lot will have to break New England’s way to land one of the talented passers in the first round, and really, it’s not an idea that you want to get to get too keen on.
But in the early days of mock draft season, Todd McShay is giving Patriots fans a giant injection of wishful thinking. We’ll find out on April 29 if he was just making a mockery of the process, as these predictive drafters tend to do.