With the flurry of free agency moves made by head coach Bill Belichick in the first week of free agency, the position that still has a lot of uncertainty is the quarterback position. No matter how much talent the receiving corps has or how dominant the defense turns out to be, the success of this team will fall into the lap of the quarterback position. Without better quarterback play, the New England Patriots will find themselves on the out of the playoff picture for the second straight season.
Cam Newton’s eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions a year ago has caused a lot of concern and while I certainly hope for a comeback season that resembles his 2015 MVP campaign, nothing is guaranteed. Newton has not looked like the same quarterback since suffering a major shoulder in November of 2018. That is a shame too, because the Carolina Panthers were off to a 6-2 start that season and looked primed for a deep playoff run. Add that to a Lisfranc injury and I can only imagine how the frustration increased for Newton. Whether he is able to regain full strength and be a dominant force in the passing game is yet to be determined. You can’t fully rely on him taking over games with his legs because it opens up the possibility of him re injuring his shoulder or foot and taking a step back. With that being said, the next place Belichick will seek his next potential franchise QB is through the draft.
Patriots 2021 Draft QB Options
The first quarterback the Patriots should consider drafting is Ohio State’s Justin Fields. As a Buckeye between 2019-2020, Fields finished with a jaw dropping 5,373 yards passing, 63 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Add that to 867 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground and you have a versatile signal caller who is fearless, but doesn’t turn the ball over. And while I am reflecting on his college career, I can’t forget he also played for the Georgia Bulldogs, where he played in 12 games finishing with 8 total touchdowns, 594 total yards and zero interceptions. This guy is simply a playmaker and his mobility just adds another element to the Patriots offense that is similar to Cam Newton, but he is younger and healthier than Newton.
More importantly, he is fearless on football’s biggest stage. In the Buckeyes 2020 Sugar Bowl win versus the defending national champion Clemson Tigers, he threw for 385 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Additionally, he rushed 8 times for 42 yards to help lead his team to a 49-28 victory. Watching his highlights from that game, I saw a QB who could make every throw and was unfazed by whatever Clemson threw at him. I was also incredibly impressed by his ability to bounce back from a vicious hit he took in that game and kept fighting. You put him in a system with the best coaching staff in football with six Super Bowl rings worth of experience and that could be a deadly combination if Cam Newton isn’t able to improve his numbers or stay healthy this upcoming season.
Another intriguing option Bill Belichick should consider looking at is North Dakota QB Trey Lance. Now some may argue that because he only has 17 career starts in 2 seasons at North Dakota, he may lack the experience to compete for the starting quarterback position in New England. And while you might have a legitimate case for that concern, I want to draw your attention to his 2019 numbers: 2,786 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. His rushing numbers that season also jump off the page with 169 rush attempts for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. Once again this gives the Patriots’ coaching staff another mobile signal caller who you don’t have a turnover issue with. Because of his lack of starting experience, I could see him being a backup until he fully learns the system, before possibly getting a chance to start. This is more of a long shot, but crazier things have happened in the NFL. A great coaching staff with proven track record is a great first destination when you are a rookie and Bill Belichick will give him every opportunity to prove himself if he is drafted.
Which quarterback do you think the Patriots will draft next month? Will the Patriots go after another quarterback in free agency? How will each quarterback (current and future draft picks I mentioned) perform with the additions of TE Jonnu Smith, TE Hunter Henry, WR Nelson Agholor and WR Kendrick Bourne? Leave your thoughts below or on the CruelFan Facebook page!
By: Whitney Dowds CruelFan.com