The New England Patriots will have their work cut out for them when they take on Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Since being drafted by the Ravens with the 32nd overall pick in 2018, Jackson has developed into one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in football. The former Louisville star won the NFL MVP award in 2019 and has made teams regret not selecting him earlier in the first round.
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One of those teams might be the Patriots, who used picks 23 and 31 on offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel, respectively.
Did Bill Belichick and Co. blow it by passing on Jackson? Our Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry and Matt Cassel discussed on a brand new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
Patriots Talk: Did the Patriots blow it when passing on Lamar Jackson? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
"Did they make a mistake in not drafting him? I'm going to say to a degree," Curran said. "And the reason I say that is, the number of picks in the 30s and 40s the Patriots peed away over the course of time. Whether it's Duke Dawson, Joejuan Williams, on and on. Plenty of second-rounders -- which ostensibly 31 kind of is -- on guys who never really made a difference. The Patriots could have had Lamar Jackson, and they definitely knew that they were going to need a quarterback before too damn long."
Perry considers Jackson "the quarterback who got away" for the Patriots.
"He has turned into not just the best athlete at that position in today's NFL, but he's developed into a tremendously effective passer during stretches of his career," Perry said. "We know he won an MVP already. I understand where the Patriots were coming from that year. I think they were trying to max out Tom Brady's window here in New England so they draft him a left tackle, they draft him a running back. ...
"But that, to me was somewhat shortsighted. Especially given the fact that we know back in 2017 they were already sort of preparing for the post-Tom Brady era. So what better way to do that than by drafting a quarterback with a really dynamic skillset?"
Unlike Curran and Perry, Cassel wasn't ready to give the Patriots grief for passing on Jackson. After all, hindsight is 20/20.
"You have to fully commit to what you're getting when you get Lamar Jackson and back then, I think everybody knew he was an elite athlete. Everybody knew that his ceiling was very high. But nobody understood where he could develop as a passer," Cassel said.
"And so, that being part of Josh McDaniels' system, that was so far outside the box of what that system had been, what it was at the time in terms of the type of quarterback they looked for, that fit the mold of their system. I don't think they were ready to commit to Lamar Jackson because they didn't know how he was going to develop as a passer. ...
"Did they miss looking back? Yes. But at the time, I couldn't sit there with a straight face and say this is a perfect fit for the New England Patriots' system.
Also discussed in the episode: Is concern over Mac Jones’ start warranted? Will Mac be better at the end of 2022 than he was in 2021? And how much confidence does Mac have in the plays that are being called?
Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.
How to watch Patriots vs. Ravens
GAME TIME: The Patriots' Week 3 game against the Ravens will be played on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m. ET. It will be the Pats' home opener at Gillette Stadium.
TV: Ravens-Patriots will air on FOX. Joe Davis (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Pam Oliver (sideline) will be on the call.
STREAMING: Live stream: FoxSports.com, NFL+; Mobile app: Fox Sports app, NFL mobile app, Yahoo! Sports app; Free streaming option: FuboTV (free trial).
For more information on the Ravens vs. Patriots matchup click here.