The New England Patriots came out of the 2020 NFL Draft without taking a single quarterback. While Bill Belichick heads into the NFL season as the favorite to win the NFL’s Coach of the Year award, many around the league aren’t as optimistic about the Patriots’ chances in 2020.
In fact, one NFL evaluator even believes this is all part of Bill Belichick’s plan to replace Tom Brady with another star quarterback next season.
Will Patriots tank for Trevor Lawrence?
Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence is widely considered the best player in college football and he is already projected to be the No. 1 pick in the first 2021 NFL mock draft. There are already a few teams that stand out to tank for Lawrence next season. Could the Patriots be among the teams planning to rack up losses next season to grab a generational quarterback to replace Brady?
At least one NFL evaluator is afraid that exact scenario is playing out. As he told The Athletic’s Mike Sando, the AFC evaluator is worried that the Patriots are tanking for Lawrence.
If New England is tanking for the Clemson star, it would push against Belichick’s known love for Jarrett Stidham. The Patriots didn’t draft a quarterback in 2020 for a reason, they believe Stidham is ready to become the face of the franchise.
Of course, Stidham fell to the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft for a reason. If he falls short of the team’s lofty expectations, which is possible given the weak supporting cast around him, the Patriots could be in position to land Lawrence.
Trading up for Trevor Lawrence
Even if the Patriots don’t finish with the NFL’s worst record next season, which we don’t expect in our season projections, Belichick can still make big moves during the 2021 NFL Draft.
If New England lands a top-10 pick in next year’s draft, they would have the ammunition to jump up in the draft. The Patriots will have all of their own 2021 picks and are projected to have three compensatory picks, including a third-round selection thanks to Tom Brady.
Adding Lawrence would suddenly transform a club that everyone expects to be on the decline into a team on the rise. Suddenly, Belichick would have a new quarterback to build his team around and it could be enough to convince him to coach into his 70s.
The Patriots will inevitably have a disappointing season by their standards in 2020. However, whether it’s Stidham or potentially Lawrence at quarterback for the future, fans will have something to be excited about in the years to come.