The New England Patriots have plenty of pressing needs they could address with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. A lockdown cornerback. A field-stretching wide receiver. A starting-caliber offensive tackle.
... Another quarterback?
The Patriots raised eyebrows last week by reportedly hosting Kentucky quarterback Will Levis on a top-30 visit. Levis is widely projected as a first-round pick, and even if he slides to 14, would New England really spend valuable draft capital on a QB? Is the team that down on 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones?
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Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer joined NBC Sports Boston's "Sports Sunday" to share what he's hearing about why Levis was in Foxboro last week.
"I think he was here because the Patriots think he might slide to them (at No. 14), and then they would have to look at the idea of it," Breer said. "I think there's a person or two in that building who really likes Will Levis. I think there's people in the front office who really like him."
Breer didn't name names, but he could be referring to head coach/de facto general manager Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Matt Groh, or perhaps a staffer who reports to Groh. The Patriots would only spend a first-round pick in Levis if they have doubts about Jones as the franchise quarterback -- and Breer suggested that's the case.
"I don't think Belichick is sure on him," Breer said of Jones. "I don't think Bill O'Brien knows right now. I don't think Matt Groh knows right now. I think there are a lot of people in that building who are unsure whether or not Mac Jones is going to be the QB three years from now."
New England Patriots
You could argue Belichick is to blame for that uncertainty by setting Jones up to fail in 2022. After finishing a close second in the NFL Rookie of the Year race under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in 2021, Jones had to work with first-year offensive play-caller Matt Patricia and first-time quarterbacks coach Joe Judge in 2022; the result was Jones ranking 31st among qualified quarterbacks in total QBR and reportedly irking Belichick by seeking offensive help from outside the organization.
Jones should have a better support system this season with new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, who spent the last two seasons at Alabama and reportedly thinks highly of the former Crimson Tide QB. It's still unclear if he'll be the No. 1 quarterback entering the season, however, and Levis' visit only further muddies those waters.
For what it's worth, Breer said he doesn't see the Patriots actually drafting Levis, who is viewed as the fourth-best quarterback in this draft -- similar to Jones in 2021 -- behind Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson.
"I don't think that means they take him," Breer added. "I think what that means is, 'We at least want to know what we're passing on.'"
Check out the video above to hear more insight from Breer on New England's interest in Levis.