After an underwhelming season from Cam Newton, the New England Patriots will again search for a successor to Tom Brady this offseason.
In a pretty wild new NFL Mock Draft, they find a potential long-term answer.
Eric Eager and George Chahrouri of Pro Football Focus released a new mock recently, one that features quite a bit of quarterback movement in the AFC East.
In it, Deshaun Watson is acquired by the Miami Dolphins, who trade the No. 3 overall pick, star cornerback Xavien Howard and two other first-round picks to the Houston Texans for the disgruntled quarterback. That makes Tua Tagovailoa, the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, expendable.
The Patriots, in this scenario, trade the No. 15 overall pick to Miami before the draft for Tagovailoa. That's one of the selections that the Dolphins ultimately send to the Texans as part of the deal for Tagovailoa.
Certainly, it's a fun mock draft, though probably not especially realistic. It's possible that the Dolphins acquire Watson, though even with how deep they are at cornerback, Miami probably isn't eager to trade Howard, an All-Pro. Additionally, if the Texans trade Watson, they'd become the most barren roster in the NFL, so Howard may not be as appealing to them as some other franchises.
In his rookie season, Tagovailoa did appear healthy after a devastating hip injury ended his collegiate career at Alabama. But while the Dolphins did go 6-3 in games that Tagovailoa started, he was twice replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick. He certainly didn't pop in the same way that Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert, selected a pick after Tagovailoa, did for the Los Angeles Chargers.
It would be one thing to move on from Tagovailoa in favor of Watson. But if the Dolphins go that route, it's hard to envision them receiving a first-round pick for Tagovailoa, as they'd be selling low. In our 2020 NFL Draft re-do, Tagovailoa fell out of the first round altogether. Why would the Patriots be incentivized to give up a pick in the middle of the first round to a division rival that's already gone in another direction at the position?
Ironically, the Texans use the No. 15 overall pick that the Patriots moved for Tagovailoa to select the son of a former Patriots star - Asante Samuel Jr.