Lamar Jackson‘s taken several visits recently as he readies for what will probably be a call from a team that’s selected him in the first round of the upcoming draft. He is not believed to have visited the Patriots yet, but they do appear to be monitoring the Louisville-honed dynamo.
The Patriots are the team that’s shown the most interest in Jackson, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report writes, adding teams have been impressed with the quarterback’s intelligence. During an appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported he’d also heard plenty connecting the Patriots to Jackson.
Mortensen said he does not expect the Pats to move up from their No. 23 perch to land the quarterback but notes they would be interested in the dual-threat player if he’s there when New England’s initial first-round window opens.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has met with the Saints, Ravens, Chargers and Browns. The latter franchise does not look to be a logical candidate to land Jackson, and the Patriots pick in front of the Saints. The Ravens could be a Jackson landing spot at No. 16. The Chargers haven’t selected a quarterback since 2013, and Philip Rivers may be a reasonable bet to retire after Tom Brady does, having expressed intentions to play into the 2020 season when the Bolts move into their new Los Angeles stadium. Brady, whose contract runs through 2019, also issued some praise (via Instagram) for Jackson this week.
New England has not selected a quarterback in the first round since Drew Bledsoe in 1993, but now that Jimmy Garoppolo is in San Francisco, the AFC East kingpin probably needs to look to identify a legitimate Brady successor. Robert Kraft said as much recently. The Patriots have also been linked to Baker Mayfield, but it would take an un-Patriot-like trade to move up into possibly the top five to have a chance at landing the latest Heisman winner. Jackson may well be gone by the time the Pats pick, but that’s not a lock.
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