Patriots

Report: Here are Patriots' plans for Alabama, Ohio State pro days

Patriots

Two college football powerhouses are forcing NFL evaluators to divide and conquer.

Alabama and Ohio State highlight a list of nine schools that will host pro days Tuesday for their top 2021 NFL Draft prospects. That means two of the nation's top quarterback prospects -- the Crimson Tide's Mac Jones and the Buckeyes' Justin Fields -- will work out on the same day.

The New England Patriots have been linked to both QBs as they consider drafting a signal-caller to compete with veteran Cam Newton. So, what's their plan for Tuesday?

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The Patriots are sending front office consultant Eliot Wolf and an area scout to Ohio State to watch Fields' workout, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Monday. Head coach Bill Belichick, who attended the University of Miami's pro day Monday, is expected to be in Tuscaloosa for Alabama's pro day, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.

This plan of attack makes sense for New England. Belichick is good friends with Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and usually is a staple at Alabama's pro days, last attending in 2019.

 

While all eyes will be on Jones, Alabama also is loaded with prospects who could interest the Patriots, including running back Najee Harris, wide receivers Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle (who reportedly won't work out Tuesday) and cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

New England may have to trade up from No. 15 to land either Fields or Jones in April, however. Fields is currently projected as a top-10 pick, while San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan -- who will be at Alabama on Tuesday -- hinted his team could take Jones after trading up to No. 3.

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It's unclear whether any New England staffers will accompany Belichick to Tuscaloosa, or whether the Patriots will have a presence at any other of Tuesday's pro days, which include Washington's, Louisville's and Texas A&M's.

But after COVID shut down virtually all scouting activity in 2020, it appears Belichick and his staff are hitting the recruiting trail hard amid a busy offseason.