Most expect the New England Patriots to draft a quarterback at some point during the 2021 NFL Draft. Bill Belichick’s scout notes seem to point to one prospect in particular.
The latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Patriots!
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah shared a screenshot of Belichick’s scout notes from his days as the head coach and general manager of the Cleveland Browns.
I think you’ll enjoy this… We were given this handout during a scout school from my time with the Ravens. Coach Belichick has held true to almost all of this over the years. pic.twitter.com/pWB3oqo5JU
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 31, 2020
Belichick points out some particular traits that he looks for, and NBC Sports’ Phil A. Perry linked the qualities to the ideal 2021 prospect at each position to generate The Hoodie’s “wishlist.”
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
At QB, Perry connects Belichick to Alabama’s Mac Jones. Perry wrote:
This one is relatively easy. Jones is arguably the most accurate passer in the class as well as one of the best and quickest decision-makers. The fact that Belichick mentions “arm” early in his description could be a concern for Jones fans, but when it comes to being “a real competitor,” fundamentally sound and accurate (a trait Belichick must have mentioned twice to hammer it home), Jones makes sense. The guy had to compete with Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa just to get on the field before winning a National Championship last season. And he did it all for Belichick’s defensive coordinator in Cleveland during that stretch in the 90s: Nick Saban.
Is this a perfect match for Jones and the Patriots?
The Accuracy Concept is Debatable
Comparing the accuracy of collegiate quarterbacks can be tricky. What metric is being used to judge the trait? Keegan Stiefel of Pat’s Pulpit says Justin Fields has unparalleled accuracy, and The Athletic’s David Lombardi called him superbly accurate.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: QB #1 Justin Fields (Ohio State) 6’3” 227lbs.
– Rocket arm.
– Accuracy is tremendous, can fit the ball in tight windows.
– Unreal athlete. A true dual-threat QB.
– Tough as nails competitor. pic.twitter.com/wheaO8j4Je
— Keagan Stiefel (@KeaganStiefel) April 23, 2021
Aside from potential objections with Jones as the draft’s most accurate quarterback, the rest of it seems to match the Alabama star pretty well. Even still, there is something to be said for Belichick evolving his requirements at the position.
We’ve seen how much Belichick respects mobile quarterbacks over the last ten years. That admiration might have led Belichick to sign Cam Newton last year and re-up with the 2015 NFL MVP ahead of the 2021 season.
The Evolution of the Patriots’ Franchise QB
Without saying it, it appears Perry and many others are simply trying to find the quarterback that most reminds them of Tom Brady. If that’s the case, that would undoubtedly be Jones–athletic limitations and all.
However, if Belichick wanted to reproduce a similar style of play, why not head into the 2020 season with Jarrett Stidham as the quarterback? Why not make a hard push for a guy like Andy Dalton each of the last two years? Why sign a mobile quarterback like Louisiana Tech’s J’Mar Smith?
It seems Belichick might be looking for a quarterback who is capable of making plays with his legs and arm. That wouldn’t be Jones. Which is a more revealing piece of data: a scouting note from more than 20 years ago or a study of recent tendencies?
Who the Patriots select at quarterback will tell us something about what Belichick covets these days.