The New England Patriots took quarterback Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and it's been an up-and-down ride for the Alabama product over two seasons in Foxboro.
Jones had a very good debut campaign and led all rookie quarterbacks in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns in 2021. Last season was a major struggle, though. Jones didn't play at the same level as the year before, and the team's offensive coaching staff -- led by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge -- was a disaster as well.
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The Patriots own the No. 14 pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Could they surprise everyone and draft a quarterback?
NFL Network's Lance Zierlein released his new 2023 mock draft earlier this week, and he projected the Patriots to take Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson in Round 1.
"There’s reportedly tension between Bill Belichick and Mac Jones," Zierlein writes. "In this scenario, the Patriots look to deal Jones for a draft pick and choose to develop the dynamic but raw Richardson."
Wow. Richardson to the Patriots would be a shocker.
New England Patriots
The Gators quarterback has impressive physical tools and a ton of talent. In the right system, he could potentially be a very effective dual-threat quarterback. The best-case scenario for Richardson would be a career path similar to Philadelphia Eagles star Jalen Hurts, or even Cam Newton.
But he's not a quarterback you draft to win this coming season, or maybe even next year, either. He's a raw talent and will need some development. The Patriots have built a roster with the intention of getting back to the playoffs ASAP. They're not rebuilding or even retooling. The expectation is to make the postseason after missing out two of the previous three years.
Addressing other positions such as offensive tackle, wide receiver, cornerback or edge rusher would be a smarter use of the No. 14 pick for the Patriots than taking another quarterback. Could the Patriots potentially take a chance on a QB during Day 3 of the draft? Sure, they currently have four picks in the sixth round. But adding to the QB depth chart in Round 1 makes almost no sense for the Patriots.