Patriots

This NFC team reportedly tried to trade above Pats for Mac Jones

Patriots

The New England Patriots didn't need to trade up to select one of the top five quarterbacks in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Other teams were not as fortunate.

The Patriots took Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the No. 15 overall pick, giving the franchise a potential long-term option at the sport's most important position.

There were plenty of rumors and speculation over whether the Patriots would trade up for a quarterback in Round 1. Luckily for the Pats, Jones slid outside the top 10.

However, there was at least one team that tried to move in front of the Patriots to select Jones, but it was unsuccessful.

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Former Patriots exec Mike Lombardi, in the latest episode of his podcast titled "GM Shuffle", explained the New Orleans Saints' effort to trade up.

"New Orleans was trying to get into the top 10 to get a cornerback, there's no doubt," Lombardi said. "I think it was (Jaycee) Horn. They tried, but they couldn't get in there, they were too far back to get in the top 10.

"But, and I've had this confirmed to me by two teams, they were trying to get up above New England to get Mac Jones. I don't think there's any doubt about that. Everybody will deny it. I'm just telling you. They couldn't get there. Why? Because Minnesota traded with the Jets (to No. 14) and Minnesota didn't go back as far as New Orleans, and (the Vikings) got a good deal. No. 13 wasn't moving because (Rashawn) Slater was there, and the Chargers weren't going to move. No. 12 wasn't moving because Dallas was going to take (Micah) Parsons. No. 11 became (Justin) Fields. So, there was nowhere for (the Saints) to go. I don't know if the Saints called New England to try to trade for that pick or if they knew New England was going to just take Mac Jones."

 

It makes sense that the Saints would want a quarterback in the first round. Longtime starter and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees retired after last season, and even though Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill have had their moments of brilliance at the position, neither is a particularly exciting long-term option for New Orleans.

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The Saints also have a Super Bowl-caliber roster in win-now mode, so the idea of bringing in a quarterback who's NFL-ready like Jones would definitely be appealing.

But, as Lombardi notes, it's not easy to move up that far in the first round when your own pick is at No. 28 overall. Unless the Saints were blowing teams away with massive offers, why would any of those franchises in the top 10 or 15 want to go all the way back to No. 28?

The Saints ultimately remained at No. 28 and selected University of Houston defensive end Payton Turner, who many experts projected as a second-round pick. The selection didn't receive a ton of praise in draft grades articles over the last few days.