Morning sports update: ESPN draft expert predicts Patriots will take a quarterback in the first round

"What a nice fit Fields makes in New England."

On the strength of Justin Fields's right arm (six touchdown passes Friday), Ohio State will be playing Alabama for the national championship Jan. 11.

On Wednesday, the Celtics overcame the Heat 107-105 after Payton Pritchard’s late putback gave Boston the win.

The day was marked by reaction to the events in Washington D.C., where pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Before the Celtics game, Boston coach Brad Stevens spoke about the matter. Players also briefly left the floor in pregame before issuing a statement.

Afterward, Jaylen Brown shared his thoughts:

The scheduled game between UMass and George Washington  was postponed after Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a citywide curfew.

A first look at mock draft season: For Patriots fans looking at the reality of no playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season, the mock drafts can’t come soon enough.

New England holds the 15th pick in the 2021 NFL draft, and speculation is already running about the possibility of Bill Belichick selecting a quarterback.

On Thursday, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay released his latest predictions for how the 32 first-round picks might proceed.

At pick No. 15, he has the Patriots taking Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, albeit admitting the unlikeliness of such a talent falling that far.

“There’s very little chance he makes it this far down the board, especially after his six-touchdown performance in the Sugar Bowl quieted some big-game concerns. Someone will move up to get him,” wrote McShay.

“But what a nice fit Fields makes in New England,” McShay added. “The Patriots tied the Giants for the fewest passing touchdowns in the NFL this season with 12, and New England joined the Broncos as the only teams with more interceptions thrown than [touchdowns] (14). Cam Newton, who was largely ineffective this season, will turn 32 in May and is set to be a free agent again. Jarrett Stidham doesn’t appear to be the guy, either. Tom Brady is no longer walking through that door, and it’s a different era for the Patriots’ passing offense. But Fields would change that, with plenty of zip on his vertical shots and an ability to create when things break down.”


Fields and his Ohio State teammates will take the field on Monday at 8 p.m. to face Alabama (and fellow potential first-round quarterback Mac Jones) in the National Championship Game.

Trivia: Before Drew Bledsoe, who was the last quarterback that the Patriots selected in the first round of the NFL draft?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was also selected 15th overall, prior to the Dolphins picking Dan Marino 27th.

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American goalkeeper Zach Steffen made an “outstanding save” on Wednesday: On a day when fellow Americans featured across Europe, it was Manchester City goalkeeper Zach Steffen who turned in the most impressive highlight, reaching full-extension to help beat Manchester United, 2-0.

On this day: In 1998, Antoine Walker scored 49 points in a 110-108 Celtics loss to the Wizards. Walker went 5-5 from three-point range, but just 2-7 from the free throw line. He also pulled down 12 rebounds, but had zero assists.

Daily highlight: Federico Dimarco scored a spectacular volley for Hellas Verona FC on Wednesday in a 1-1 draw against Torino.

Trivia answer: Tony Eason

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