Getty Christian Darrisaw
Come April, during the 2021 NFL Draft, many fans would love to see the New England Patriots select one of the top quarterbacks available in the first round. Some would like to see the team trade up to take someone like BYU’s Zach Wilson or even Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
If you’re one of those people, you probably don’t want to look at NBC Sports Phil Perry’s latest mock draft. Perry doesn’t just have the Patriots missing out on one of the top quarterbacks in the first round, he has the team going in a completely different direction with the 15th overall selection.
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Every One of the Top 5 QB’s Are off the Board in Perry’s Mock
In Perry’s mock draft, he has the Patriots selecting the beastly left tackle from Virginia Tech, Christian Darrisaw. Perry knows this isn’t what fans want to hear, and it doesn’t even sound like it’s something he wants to predict.
However, in his mock, all 5 of the top quarterbacks are already gone by the time the Patriots will select at No. 15.
As most expect, Perry has Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence landing with the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first overall pick. He hasn’t elevated Wilson ahead of Fields and has the latter going to the New York Jets with the former being selected by the Miami Dolphins at No. 3.
If the Dolphins prove Perry right, drafting Wilson would be an incredibly premature move considering Tua Tagvailoa just completed his rookie season. In any case, Perry has North Dakota State’s Trey Lance headed to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4.
The run on QB cools off until the No. 14 pick when Perry has the Minnesota Vikings giving up on Kirk Cousins and turning to Alabama’s Mac Jones. That would be a real blow to the Patriots considering many have projected Jones to land in New England.
Florida’s Kyle Trask would still be available in this scenario, but Perry believes the Patriots would lean toward an offensive lineman over Trask or even the prospect of trading up to get one of the prospects I’ve mentioned.
Here is his reasoning:
Like it or not, tackle is a need for the Patriots. Follow the dominos: Joe Thuney could depart via free agency; Michael Onwenu could kick inside to left guard; Marcus Cannon’s future is uncertain. And not only is there little clarity at right tackle for 2021, there’s little clarity at left tackle for 2022 and beyond as Isaiah Wynn is scheduled to become a free agent after next season. Darrisaw has been starting at left tackle since his true freshman season, but perhaps he could play on the right side next season and then move back to his natural spot. The Patriots will get a good player at No. 15. It just might not be a player at the position you want.
Why This Just Doesn’t Feel Right
Perry makes a good point about the Patriots’ need to find an offensive tackle, and there is no question Darrisaw looks like a winner. In fact, teams like the Chicago Bears should be praying he falls to them later in the first round.
Still, the Patriots have exhibited the ability to find quality offensive linemen outside of the first round. If you look at the players who logged the majority of snaps for the unit this past season, only Isaiah Wynn was selected in the first round. The stars of the line, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and rookie Mike Onwenu were all picked in the third round or later. Andrews went undrafted.
There is almost always depth and a fit on the O-line later in the draft and the Patriots have been great at finding those pieces. It’s hard to imagine they would use a first-round pick on the line in a draft after a season that revealed so many more damaging weaknesses across their roster.
We’ll wait to see as there are certain t obe changes and developments that affect the draft and every mock written between now and then.