Patriots

Mel Kiper Jr's new 2020 NFL Mock Draft has Patriots taking QB of the future

Mel Kiper Jr's new 2020 NFL Mock Draft has Patriots taking QB of the future

The New England Patriots will enter the buildup to the 2020 NFL season in an unfamiliar situation.

The team will have a quarterback competition for the first time in almost 20 years after Tom Brady left the franchise to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.

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The Patriots currently have veterans Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler, as well as 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham on their quarterback depth chart. Stidham is the favorite to win the job and showed a lot of potential during last year's training camp and preseason. 

Despite Stidham's talent, many mock drafts still have the Patriots targeting a QB with the 23rd overall pick in the first round, and ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. is no exception. He released his 2020 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 on Tuesday, and he has the Patriots taking Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in Round 1.

Here's his rationale for the Love selection:

Are the Patriots really going to roll with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler as their 2020 quarterbacks? I'm not buying it. I'll stick with a QB here, although I'm moving Love back into the fourth spot in my QB rankings, ahead of Jacob Eason. At 6-foot-4, Love has all the traits that teams look for in a starter, but his 2019 stats -- 20 TD passes, 17 INTs -- will scare off some. I don't put much stock into it because of all of the talent (and an entire coaching staff) that he lost from the 2018 season, when he had 32 TD passes and six INTs. It's tough to know whether Bill Belichick is going to treat the season as a rebuild, but taking Love makes sense either way.

Love, as Kiper alludes to, displays the physical tools teams wants in a quarterback. He has the size, strength and arm power to make a lot of quality throws. Love completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 3,402 yards, 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for Utah State last season.

It's possible Love might not even be available to the Patriots by the time they're on the clock. Love's momentum has been building of late, and ESPN's Dan Orlovsky even argued why teams should draft the Utah State star over Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who's projected to be a top 10 pick.

Quarterback isn't the only need for New England entering April's draft. Wide receiver, linebacker, safety and offensive line are other areas of weakness. Fortunately for the Patriots, they have 12 picks in the 2020 draft -- only the Miami Dolphins (14) have more -- so Bill Belichick has plenty of chances to plug some of the holes on his roster before next season.

Phil Perry's seven-round 2020 Patriots mock draft 1.0

Raiders QB Derek Carr to face Patriots early in what could be bounce-back season

Raiders QB Derek Carr to face Patriots early in what could be bounce-back season

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Las Vegas Raiders with Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area.

The Las Vegas Raiders reportedly were among the teams with some level of interest in signing Tom Brady in NFL free agency, but the Silver and Black ultimately decided to stick with Derek Carr as its starting quarterback.

Carr shouldn't be too comfortable, though.

Despite making the most of a tough situation in 2019 during which the Raiders lacked skill and depth at many offensive positions, Carr's job doesn't appear to be safe. For example, the Raiders signed veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota in free agency, and he has several seasons of starting experience.

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NBC Sports Bay Area's Raiders insider Scott Bair recently spoke to our Patriots insider Phil Perry, and one of the topics centered around Carr's future and if he can once again perform at the level of a top-tier quarterback.

"Actions speak louder than words, and (head coach) Jon Gruden and (general manager) Mike Mayock at the combine and all these different places, they say the right things -- Derek Carr is their guy," Bair said. "But then, they're constantly flirting with Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, and they sign Marcus Mariota to a deal that could evolve into paying him starter money should he take over that job. Those actions don't say (Carr is their guy).

"I've seen every professional snap that Derek Carr has ever taken. I've seen every practice rep that I've been allowed to see, and I may be in the minority, but this is a guy I believe can be an upper-tier NFL quarterback. He can make every throw, and if you go back to 2016 when he had a loaded offensive line and lots of good skill players, he finished third in MVP voting despite the fact he broke his leg in Week 16. I know that's in there. Now, Raiders fans don't believe me, the national media doesn't believe me, but I think the stage is set for him to have a career year and find that 2016 form yet again, that most fans think is lost forever."

One defense Carr will go up against in 2020 is the New England Patriots.

The Raiders are scheduled to visit Gillette Stadium on Sept. 27 for a Week 3 matchup, and they currently are underdogs by almost a touchdown, according to oddsmakers. Bair thinks the matchup is closer than the betting lines would suggest.

"I would definitely hammer the Raiders pretty hard right there," Bair said. "I just think they're going to have a lot of explosive firepower, and when there's uncertainty at quarterback, (the more explosive team) seems to be a safer bet. Maybe you know better than I do exactly how (the Patriots') quarterback situation is shaping up, but if there are major questions marks there, I would go with the more established quarterback, the more established offense. Again, (the Raiders) are going to be able to score in bunches, and I think they're going to be pretty excited to come to Foxboro and finally get a win, even if Brady isn't there."

The Raiders and Patriots both face a bit of uncertainty at quarterback entering the 2020 season, and whichever coach is able to surround his young QB with the best system and the right talent will put his team in a strong position to reach the playoffs. The Patriots haven't missed the postseason since 2008, while the Raiders have made only one appearance since 2002.

If Brian Hoyer starts for Patriots in Week 1, that's absolutely crazy

If Brian Hoyer starts for Patriots in Week 1, that's absolutely crazy

Rob Ninkovich sounded drunkovich when he spoke of Brian Hoyer starting Week 1 for the Patriots.

Get that man a breathalyzer. Stat.

And if Nink turns out to be right, get Bill Belichick one too. 

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I have said this before — and I will say it again: I will not watch one down of Brian Hoyer under center for the Patriots.

And you shouldn’t either!

Don’t be a sucker. Really, you’re going to waste your time watching a guy who has started 25 games in 11 seasons in the NFL?

He may be a nice guy, good at carrying a clipboard and ridding Tom Brady of his insecurities, but he is a lousy quarterback. Patriot fans deserve better.

Going from Tom Brady to Brian Hoyer is cold turkey to the extreme. I can feel the cotton mouth, cold sweats and shakes coming on already. 

Does Bill Belichick expect you to accept Brian Hoyer as a starter? If he does, it should piss you off. 

If Hoyer does get the call you can still watch some of the game. I plan to. When the Patriots are on offense I will switch to the other game or Red Zone, and when I see on my phone that the Pats are back on defense, I will switch back over and watch Gilmore, Hightower and the McCourtys do their thing. 

That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.