Ian Rapoport is confident that the battle at quarterback for the Patriots won't just come down to Brian Hoyer and Jarret Stidham.
After surmising on the "Rich Eisen Show" that the Patriots will use a "premium pick" on a QB in the upcoming NFL Draft, the NFL Network reporter clarified how he viewed the Pats' draft strategy when appearing on "The Greg Hill Show" Wednesday morning.
"Obviously the Patriots have taken a really, really hard look at the quarterbacks in this draft," Rapoport said. "I would consider a premium pick the first three rounds. Obviously they don't have a second-rounder although the Patriots have been known to create draft picks out of nothin so just because they don't have a second-rounder doesn't mean they won't have one come draft time.
"They are going to take a quarterback somewhere. That is something that has been communicated to people. That is something I very strongly believe. My sense is that it will be a first, second or third-round pick. If it is a first-rounder it would have to be perfect. It would have to be the one guy you were able to take late in the first who would have fallen ... If (Justin) Herbert falls I would imagine that would be something they would have to consider very strongly."
After their first-round pick at No. 23, the Patriots aren't scheduled to select again until the 87th overall pick (third round). They have three third-round picks, which, as Rapoport points out, might be the sweet spot when it comes to locking in on a quarterback.
"If you get to the third round you have some really interesting guys," he said. "Jalen Hurts is available. Jake Fromm is available. Jacob Eason is a little more of a wild card. I'm not sure there is a ton of love there but you never know. Maybe in the third round. I would imagine there is a first or third-round pick on a quarterback and you put them all together, then you go to practice and God-willing there is practice and you see what happens."