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NFL Draft 2021: Quarterback prospects to know

Alabama's Mac Jones has drawn comparisons to Tom Brady.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

The Patriots hold the No. 15 pick in this month’s NFL Draft, and all eyes are on them to make a splash.

Quarterback is an area of obvious need for New England, despite re-signing Cam Newton on a one-year deal. Newton and Jarrett Stidham are the only signal-callers on the roster.

So, will the Patriots draft a quarterback in the first round? Could they maneuver their 10 picks to move up and grab one of the higher-rated players? Or will they stay put at No. 15 and play the odds in this quarterback-rich draft?

Here’s a look at the top quarterbacks in the draft. Check back soon; we’ll continue to update this list.


Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

The Patriots have no shot at drafting Lawrence, who, barring any major changes, will go No. 1 to the Jaguars.

But checking out a top QB contextualizes other prospects, and who knows? — the info could be useful if he is ever available in the future.

Read more: Patriots have no shot at Trevor Lawrence — so why did they scout him?

Jeff George Jr., Pittsburgh

Jeff George Jr. wasn’t always big on fatherly advice — even when it was coming from a guy who was the No. 1 pick in the draft and played a dozen years in the league.

But now, as the 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound signal-caller prepares for this draft, he’s coming around.

Read more: As he prepares for NFL draft, quarterback Jeff George Jr. has a pretty good guide: his father

Feleipe Franks, Arkansas

Feleipe Franks looks downfield during a Senior Bowl workout.Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

Does the name Feleipe Franks sound familiar? It should.

Franks was drafted by the Red Sox in 2019, when he was still a quarterback at Florida.

After suffering a season-ending ankle injury early in his junior year — and losing the starting role to fellow draft prospect Kyle Trask — he decided to transfer to Arkansas as a redshirt senior.


Now, he’s prepping for a different draft. And he believes his experience with the Red Sox (and in baseball in general) will help.

Read more: A former Red Sox draftee, Arkansas’ Feleipe Franks is hoping to get picked in April — as a quarterback

Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Count North Dakota State quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg among the folks who think Trey Lance is a viable option as the Patriots’ quarterback of the future.

“I think he’s a franchise quarterback,” Hedberg said. “I think Trey can carry a franchise with his personality and his leadership. I think he has that ‘it’ factor. I think that’s important. When the guy enters the room, you know who it is.”

To draft Lance, though, the Patriots might need to move up the board.

Read more: What to make of Trey Lance? Former coaches tout football IQ, physicality

Zach Wilson, BYU

What does the future hold for Zach Wilson?Rick Bowmer

Wilson has the size (6 feet 3 inches, 210 pounds) and above-average arm strength to thrive as a traditional pocket passer in the NFL, but also possesses the athleticism to operate outside the pocket and extend plays with his legs.

With more and more NFL clubs employing more and more run/pass options in their offense, Wilson, who is bypassing his final two college seasons, will appeal to many offensive coordinators.

Could he also appeal to Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels?

Read more: BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s skill set and explosiveness make him a tantalizing prospect

Mac Jones, Alabama

Comparisons are always a risky business, so take it with a grain of salt when Mel Kiper Jr. likens Alabama quarterback to none other than Tom Brady.


“I hate to say it, but he kind of has a little bit of Brady in him,” Kiper said in February. “I’m not saying he’s ever going to be Tom Brady. He wouldn’t be close, probably. But he has that competitiveness and he’s so smart.”

Plenty of mock drafts have Jones going to the Patriots at No. 15.

Read more: Alabama QB Mac Jones is actually drawing comparisons to, yes, Tom Brady

Justin Fields, Ohio State

Could Justin Fields be a fit in Foxborough?Paul Vernon

The Patriots probably would have to trade up if they want a shot at Fields, who is one of five quarterbacks projected to go in the first round.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah recently said he’s heard New England is “really high” on Fields.

Read more: The sky may be the limit for dual-threat Ohio State QB Justin Fields

Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

Don’t overlook Kellen Mond. He’s entering the draft after a run in College Station where, as a four-year starter, he improved every season, culminating in a 9-1 campaign in 2020 that left Texas A&M just outside the playoffs.

But his nifty athleticism and exceptional arm talent make him one of the top dual-threat QBs in the draft.

Mond figures to be a second-day selection, which could set up well for the Patriots.

Read more: In a quarterback-rich NFL Draft, don’t overlook Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond

Ian Book, Notre Dame

Book has faced his fair share of criticism from scouts. That, at 6 feet, he lacks ideal size. That he is just an adequate athlete. That his arm isn’t strong enough to consistently stretch the field.


But he also finished his career as the winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history — a list that contains some serious heavyweights — posting a 30-4 record as a starter. And he thinks that is the stat that matters.

Read more: Notre Dame QB Ian Book believes he excels in the stat that matters — winning

More draft reading

Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @nicolecyang. Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.