Protection or playmaker? How Patriots should help Mac Jones

Protection or playmaker? How Patriots should help Mac Jones originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The priority for the New England Patriots this offseason should be putting quarterback Mac Jones in the best position to succeed.

There are multiple ways they could go about that. Upgrading the offensive line would greatly benefit the young QB, but so would giving him an elite wide receiver to throw to. What if the Patriots have to choose one or the other?

On a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast, Phil Perry gets differing opinions on the situation from Mike Lombardi and former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz.

Next Pats Podcast: Protection or playmaker? NFL minds DISAGREE on how Patriots should help Mac Jones | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

Lombardi believes the Patriots should prioritize the offensive line this offseason.

"This is from Bill Walsh. The last position you fix on your team is the wide receiver," Lombardi said. "If you don't fix that line -- they're not counting to five Mississippi, so it's going to be hard for you to throw the football.

"I think with the receivers they have, whether it's (Tyquan) Thornton develops a step in the second year, whether it's (DeVante) Parker comes back and stays healthy, or Kendrick Bourne or the tight ends. I mean, they've got skill players. They just didn't protect well enough to get the ball to them."

Perry's Prototypical Pats: Quarterbacks who could be on New England's draft radar

Schwartz took the other side of the argument, claiming that an elite wideout is more important than one elite lineman.

"I think the thing you try to do with your offensive line is you try to have -- instead of having one elite guy, you have five average guys who can survive," Schwartz said. "To me, if you can draft the elite wide receiver and find the average right tackle in free agency, that sounds like the better plan maybe. Or, you get the elite wide receiver in free agency and find that right tackle in the draft.

"You need to have that elite wide receiver. You can fill that right tackle spot with average. The average right tackle will survive in New England."

Also in the new episode: What can the Patriots learn from how the Saints built around Drew Brees? And reactions from the NFL combine.

Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch it on YouTube below: