The New England Patriots are reportedly interested in trading up to take a quarterback in the first round of the draft, and there have been more rumors that they're hoping to do so in order to take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield.
However, it appears that the Patriots may have someone else in mind to be the heir apparent to Tom Brady.
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, New England is likely targeting Louisville's Lamar Jackson with the No. 23 pick, but could trade up in order to get him.
By acquiring the 23rd overall pick in the first round in exchange for wideout Brandin Cooks (and already holding the 31st pick), the Patriots have given themselves flexibility for a quarterback selection in this month’s draft. And Jackson could emerge as New England’s top option for two key reasons: Thanks to an inside pipeline, Patriots coach Bill Belichick knows virtually everything he can about Jackson; and the Louisville star already knows plenty about the base concepts of New England’s offense.
Robinson notes that Mike Lombardi's son, Matt, worked as an offensive assistant for Louisville while Mike was on New England's staff from 2014-16 and that Louisville runs a "tweaked version of the Erhardt-Perkins offensive system" similar to that of the Patriots.
There's a good chance that Jackson may not be available at No. 23 as some think he'll be picked in the top 15, but New England has the tools to trade up to the early teens (two first-round and two second-round picks) and is more likely to do that rather than trading into the top five for Mayfield.
Jackson, who won the Heisman trophy in 2016, has visited or worked out for the Browns, Chargers, Dolphins, and Ravens. He passed for 3,660 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season while rushing for 1,601 yards and 10 more scores.
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