Patriots

Morning sports update: Mel Kiper projects the Patriots will take a quarterback in the first round

"Mac Jones, pocket passer, great accuracy to all levels, that's what Tom Brady was."

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in 2020. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

On Monday, the Celtics defeated the Bulls 119-103. Jayson Tatum returned to the lineup, scoring 24 points in his first game back after having COVID-19.

Tonight, the Bruins face the Penguins at 7 p.m. and the Pride face Toronto at 8:30 p.m.

Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft: Longtime ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. unveiled his preliminary projections of the 2021 NFL draft.

With the Patriots picking 15th, and dealing with ongoing questions at the quarterback position in the post-Tom Brady era, Kiper projected New England taking Alabama’s Mac Jones.

The National Championship-winning quarterback could make sense for Bill Belichick.

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“They don’t pick this high often,” Kiper wrote. “Why not go and get your guy and build around him?”

He acknowledged that the Patriots’ plan would change if Belichick made a separate trade.

“Now, that changes if Bill Belichick & Co. can make a deal to get a veteran quarterback on the trade market or if Jimmy Garoppolo gets cut by the 49ers,” Kiper noted. “But with Cam Newton unlikely to return to New England, Jones could become a signal-caller to groom for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.”

In an appearance on SportsCenter, Kiper added some more detail to the possibility.

“Well, you think about Tom Brady in New England, not real athletic, not mobile,” said Kiper. “Mac Jones, pocket passer, great accuracy to all levels, that’s what Tom Brady was. Bill Belichick-Nick Saban connection, Alabama players up in New England.”

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“Maybe it makes too much sense,” Kiper noted. “Things never work that way when you think you got something here from just a looking back here [sense] and connecting the dots.”

The 2021 draft is scheduled to get underway on April 29.

Trivia: What former MLB pitcher was part of both a rare Red Sox-Yankees trade as well as a later Boston deal with the Montreal Expos to acquire Pedro Martinez?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: His father played for the Red Sox from 1983-1986.

More from Boston.com:

Jayson Tatum on having COVID-19, and the mental battle:

Brett Favre on the Packers and Aaron Rodgers:

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One year ago: A California helicopter crash claimed the lives of nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

Vanessa Bryant shared a moving post on her Instagram of a letter Gianna’s friend Aubrey sent to her, ending her caption by saying, “Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud. I love you!”

Daily highlight: Anthony Edwards, the 2021 No. 1 pick, threw down a thunderous dunk on No. 2 pick James Wiseman.

Trivia answer: Tony Armas Jr.

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