BOSTON (CBS) — With the NFL Draft just a few weeks away, there are only a few seats left on the “Justin Fields to the Patriots” hype train. ESPN resident mock drafter Mel Kiper Jr. claimed his seat on Tuesday.
In his newest two-round mock draft, Kiper has New England trading up to land the Ohio State quarterback, though it’s not the trade into the Top 5 that many believe will be needed to land Fields in Foxboro. In his mock draft, Kiper has the Patriots trading with the Dallas Cowboys to land the No. 10 overall pick to draft Fields.
In this mock trade, Kiper has the Patriots sending pick No. 15 and a 2022 first-round selection to Dallas for No. 10:
This makes five quarterbacks in the top 10, with Bill Belichick & Co. making the move up for Fields, my second-ranked quarterback. All the moves the Patriots made in free agency showed me that they believe they can get right back into competing for the AFC East title, but I don’t think Cam Newton is the quarterback to get them there. He had too many accuracy issues last season. He’s not the long-term answer. Fields had an up-and-down 2020 season, but he can be a star if he becomes more consistent. And I trust that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will get him there.
Others have mocked the Patriots trading with the Atlanta Falcons to move up to No. 4 to land Fields. Last week, Kiper’s co-worker Todd McShay had the Patriots trading with the New York Giants to move up to No. 11 to land the quarterback.
So there is certainly a lot of smoke out there connecting the Patriots to Fields. The team was at his first pro day last month, and will reportedly be at his second pro day later this week. We’ll find out what actually happens on April 29.
Kiper has the Patriots adding a weapon to Cam Newton/Fields’ offensive arsenal with the team’s second-round pick, drafting Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers with the No. 46 overall pick. Rodgers had 181 receptions for over 2,100 yards and 15 touchdowns during his four years at Clemson.