Will the New England Patriots take a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, or will they address another position of need?
They'll have to answer that question next week when they're on the clock with the 15th overall pick. Perhaps they'll even trade up the draft board if they have their minds set on a particular player. ESPN's Mel Kiper, for example, projects the Patriots to trade up to No. 7 and select Alabama QB Mac Jones.
NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry played the role of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in Wednesday night's Early Edition. With Jones still on the board at No. 15, here's how they made their selections.
"Even if I took Mac Jones, which I'm not gonna do, I wouldn't be solving the quarterback problem," Curran said. "You know why? Because Mac Jones is already on the roster and he's been there for two years, it's Jarrett Stidham. ...
"What we're gonna do here is take the best linebacker and it's not Blake Gallagher out of Northwestern, it's going to be Micah Parsons out of Penn State. We're taking one of the five to six best athletes and prospects in the draft."
Perry, on the other hand, couldn't pass up the opportunity to draft Jones in that spot.
"I would have taken Mac Jones because he plays the most important position in the sport by a long shot, because he is very accurate, because he checks a lot of the boxes the Patriots typically draft at that position," Perry said. "He succeeded at a high level, played against some really good defenses, we know he got good coaching at Alabama. He has enough size, he has enough arm strength for them.
"He really is maybe the best fit at that position in this class for the Patriots even if most of the region here doesn't necessarily think that he is a great prospect. Micah Parsons would concern me a tad for the Patriots as good as of an athlete as he is."
Parsons has some character concerns, but there's no doubting his enormous talent. He opted out of the 2020 season but tallied five sacks, four forced fumbles and 52 solo tackles in 2019.
As for Jones, the Crimson Tide signal-caller completed 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions last season. He is expected to be one of the first five QBs selected.
The 2021 NFL Draft is set to begin April 29.