With the 2023 NFL Draft now one week away, rumors are swirling. Every bit of news feels like it could matter. On the last day in which teams can visit with prospects, the New England Patriots hosted Kentucky quarterback Will Levis. Are the Patriots seriously considering taking a quarterback in the first round? And what does this mean for the future of Mac Jones?
Patriots Draft Rumors Suggest They Are Not Sold on Mac Jones
It’s not easy to replace a franchise quarterback. Not every team is as fortunate to go from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers, or from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck. And ever since Tom Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, the Patriots have been in search of his successor.
Following the failed Cam Newton experiment, the Patriots spent a first-round pick on a quarterback for the first time since Drew Bledsoe in 1993. In the 2021 NFL Draft, New England selected Jones at No. 15 overall.
As a rookie, Jones was able to game-manage his way to getting the Patriots into the playoffs. Yet, no one took them seriously as a contender.
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Jones needed to take a step forward as a sophomore. Instead, he regressed considerably, to the point where he was briefly benched for rookie fourth-rounder Bailey Zappe.
In 14 starts, Jones completed 65.2% of his passes for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. The Patriots went 8-9 and missed the playoffs. Most importantly, Jones didn’t do enough to prove to the team he’s the long-term answer at quarterback.
As reported by The Athletic’s Chad Graff, “The Patriots’ Bill Belichick-Mac Jones rift is real.”
Between rumors of the team shopping Jones around and trying to sign or trade for prominent veteran quarterbacks, it isn’t a complete shock that New England is doing their due diligence on the 2023 class of QBs.
Patriots Host Kentucky QB Will Levis
Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots hosted Levis on Wednesday, April 19. Levis is one of the most polarizing quarterback prospects in recent memory. He’s also a lock to go in the first round. Could the Patriots be considering a move up to draft him?
While it’s unlikely any of the top four quarterbacks falls to New England at pick 14, perhaps they’re exploring the possibility of packaging Jones with their first-round pick in order to trade into the top five.
For example, on April 17, Rapoport tweeted that Houston Texans’ general manager Nick Caserio said, “Are we open for business? We’re open to listening,” when asked about whether he was shopping the second overall pick.
Outside of the Panthers taking a quarterback at No. 1, nothing seems to be even close to set in stone as it pertains to the top of the draft.
Regardless, the Patriots’ decision to bring in Levis for a visit points to them being in the market for a quarterback. Right now, Jones remains the presumptive Week 1 starter. But that will change very quickly if they spend a first-round pick on the position.