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Dark horse scenario: Should Patriots trade up for Ja'Marr Chase? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
We’ve gone over the quarterback scenarios a zillion times leading up to the draft. What happens if Justin Fields or Trey Lance falls? Would the Patriots trade into the top 10? Should they? With whom?
Here’s a dark horse scenario we haven’t considered: What if they traded up for a non-quarterback?
Picture this: The first three picks, as expected, are QBs. The Falcons either take a QB or trade No. 4 to a team that wants one. The Bengals make the no-brainer pick with tackle Penei Sewell at No. 5. At No. 6, the Dolphins take tight end Kyle Pitts, the best pass-catcher in the draft.
LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is available at No. 7. He’s the top wide receiver in the draft. There are all sorts of scenarios that see him going in the first six picks. The Bengals could take him — he and Joe Burrow were electric together in college — if the Falcons take Sewell. The Dolphins could take him if they’d rather a wide receiver given that they already have a decent tight end in Mike Gesicki. There’s always the possibility that a team moves up to No. 4, 5 or 6 for him.
But in this very plausible scenario, he’s on the board for the Lions at No. 7. The Patriots, badly in need of a No. 1 receiver and historically terrible at drafting at the position, could move up and get a sure thing.
Would they do it?
Probably not! Most likely not! After all, Bill Belichick once advised Thomas Dimitroff against trading up for Julio Jones, infamously telling him that Jonathan Baldwin, a late-first/early second-round prospect, could be a really good player without the massive investment required for Jones.
But we’ve seen Belichick do the unexpected before. Let’s just entertain it.
There are two routes the Pats could take if they wanted to move up from No. 15 to No. 7. They could package this year’s picks — at least 15 and 46; perhaps their third-rounder too — and get Chase without having to part with next year’s first-rounder. It would be a home run acquisition, but it would also mean they’d come out of this draft without one of the six or so top QB prospects.
If they wanted to still get a quarterback, they could trade next year’s first to move to No. 7, take Chase, then use No. 46 to target whichever QB they like, be it Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond or somebody else. They’d probably have to move up to make sure they get the guy, but if they’re high on any of the non-Lawrence/Wilson/Fields/Lance/Jones QBs and come away with both Chase and their guy at quarterback, that would have the makings of a very strong draft.
I like that second scenario. I’m cool with trading a future first-round pick as long as the Patriots think they’re coming out of this draft with their QB. It would be a major risk to trade up for Chase without knowing for sure that you’ll be able to get that QB later in the first or second, but they could get it done as long as they’re aggressive.
A likely scenario? Based on history, no, but it’s one worth entertaining if Chase drops a pick or two beyond where he’s expected to go.