Patriots

Patriots

The New England Patriots could be in the running for a quarterback early in the 2020 NFL Draft, and there are several quality players the team could select if they choose to target that position.

One of them is Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. He completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 3,471 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions for the Ducks in 2019. Oregon finished 12-2 and beat Wisconsin 28-27 in the Rose Bowl, although Herbert struggled in that win with 138 passing yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Herbert, like most of the other top prospects in the 2020 draft class, is in Indianapolis this week for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. He plans to throw at the combine, per NFL Media's Tom Pelissero. Herbert spoke to reporters Tuesday morning and was asked about contact he's had with the Patriots, and what it would be like to step in for Tom Brady.

Herbert is the third-best QB in this class, behind Heisman Trophy winner and LSU star Joe Burrow (No. 1) and Alabama standout Tua Tagovailoa (No. 2). Some mock drafts have Herbert going as high as No. 6 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers, who need a quarterback after the departure of veteran Philip Rivers. 

The Patriots don't pick until No. 23 in the first round, so it's unlikely Herbert will be available when it's their turn to pick. It's always possible the Patriots could move up in the draft, and they're expected to have as many as 12 picks (including compensatory selections), but QB isn't the team's primary need, especially if Brady returns for the 2020 season.

 

There could be other QBs worth drafting at No. 23, and two of them are Utah State's Jordan Love and Washington's Jacob Eason. Our own Patriots insider Phil Perry had Love going to the Patriots in his most recent NFL mock draft.

Curran-Perry: Can Pats do enough with the roster to appease Brady?