The New England Patriots widely are believed to be determined to emerge from the 2018 draft with a new quarterback who can be groomed to eventually take over for Tom Brady. Through three rounds, it hasn’t happened yet.
From the rumors of trading up to the top five to get one of the premier guys to trading up to the top 10 to get Josh Rosen to trading up to the teens to get Lamar Jackson to standing pat to get Jackson at No. 23 to getting Jackson at No. 31, none of that happened. The sixth quarterback, Mason Rudolph, plummeted through round two without being picked by the Pats. (Curiously, two of New England’s top AFC rivals, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, ended up with Jackson and Rudolph, respectively.)
With five picks left as round four starts, the question remains not if but when the Patriots will pick up a new quarterback. Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta has been linked most extensively to the Patriots in one of the later rounds, which serves as an open invitation to another team to get Lauletta before the Patriots can.
The repeated stories connecting the Patriots to Lauletta invite speculation that the Patriots have leaked their interest in Lauletta because they’re actually interested in someone else. Not everyone buys the idea that the Patriots are still able to execute such misdirections. As one league source explained it to PFT on Friday, there’s an emerging belief that the Patriots no longer can maintain strict silence like they once did.
The source said there’s a belief that the Patriots were genuinely interested in Jackson, but that they had hoped to get him in round two. The source also noted that the Patriots were believed to be interested in both center Frank Ragnow and linebacker Rashaan Evans with the 23rd pick in round one. The Lions (where former Patriots exec Bob Quinn is the G.M. and former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is the head coach) took Ragnow and the Titans (where former Patriots exec Jon Robinson is the G.M. and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel is the coach) traded up to No. 22 to take Evans.
“It used to be that you couldn’t get info out of New England, but I think those days are over,” the source said. “Too many branches all over the league.”
At a time when there’s a perception that a revolt is occurring in the Patriots locker room against the ways of Bill Belichick (and the unexplained benching of Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII), the possibility that the coaching staff and front office aren’t as buttoned up as they used to be is an intriguing thought, and it possibly has kept the Patriots from getting multiple players they coveted entering the 2018 draft. Whether it keeps them from getting the quarterback they want on Saturday remains to be seen.