Could Patriots replace Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe in 2023 NFL Draft?

patriots replace jones zappe 2023 nfl draft

The quarterback situation hovering over the New England Patriots continues to generate headlines one week before the opening night of the 2023 NFL Draft.

As mentioned by Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper and Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports, the Patriots hosted Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis for a visit on Wednesday. That same day, Bucky Brooks of the NFL website ranked Levis fifth among signal-callers in the upcoming draft class. 

2021 first-round draft pick and 2022 New England QB1 Mac Jones has been the subject of trade rumors since it was first reported in January he angered head coach Bill Belichick by seeking help from outside the organization when the offense was floundering this past season. Belichick allegedly responded by “shopping” Jones, but new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien indicated no trade is imminent when he said earlier this week that “everybody is starting with a clean slate.” 

The Patriots currently hold the No. 14 overall pick in this year’s draft, and Alper wrote that “it’s a good bet that Levis will be off the board by the” time New England is called to use that selection. For what it’s worth, not everyone agrees with Alper’s take. 

As of Thursday afternoon, both Ryan Wilson and Will Brinson of CBS Sports were predicting in their mock drafts that Levis will fall to at least 14th in the actual draft order. 

New England spending any first-round choice on Levis would likely put an end to the idea of Jones competing with 2022 rookie Bailey Zappe for the starting job this summer. Jones realistically and understandably could request a trade if such a scenario occurred, while Zappe probably would be little more than a bridge option at the position until Belichick turned to Levis. 

Chad Reuter of the league’s website is among those who have suggested Levis should sit and learn the NFL game from the sidelines for a season before he’s thrust into a lineup. 

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Publish Date:2023-04-21 02:36:30

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