Patriots

Morning sports update: New mock drafts continue to project a quarterback to the Patriots

The draft starts on April 29.

Trey Lance Mock Draft
North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance in 2020. AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

The Red Sox started the Patriots’ Day morning game with six straight hits (and six first-inning runs) to defeat the White Sox, 11-4. Boston welcomes the Toronto Blue Jays this evening at 7:10 p.m. to begin a two-game series.

Also on Monday, the Celtics lost to the Bulls, 102-96. Jayson Tatum posted the first triple-double (14 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists) of his career.

The Bruins face the Sabres tonight at 6:30 p.m.

In some non-Boston news, longtime San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau broke Gordie Howe’s seemingly unreachable record of NHL games played on Monday night. The 41-year-old (who began his NHL career in 1997 as an 18-year-old) notched his 1,768th career game.

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The latest NFL mock drafts: With the NFL draft less than 10 days away (the first round begins on Thursday, April 29 at 8 p.m.), the projected picks for some teams are beginning to calcify.

The Patriots, on the other hand, continue to be a subject of uncertainty in the eyes of draft analysts.

While some mock drafts have had New England selecting the best available player with the 15th overall pick, many have predicted that Bill Belichick will make the unprecedented choice to trade up and draft a quarterback.

Even in the discussion of quarterbacks, however, the conversation has been ever-evolving. Whether it was Justin Fields from Ohio State, Mac Jones from Alabama, or Trey Lance from North Dakota State, experts have explored a myriad of routes in which the Patriots would be able to pick a quarterback for the future.

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In two recent mock drafts, the consensus continues to center on New England selecting a quarterback in the first round.

Released on Tuesday morning, ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay ran through a three-round mock draft. In the updated version, the duo have Belichick trading up to get the seventh overall pick from the Lions.

“This deal sees the Patriots jump eight spots to get their guy, while the Lions add the Patriots’ second-round pick (No. 46), plus future selections, maybe even their first-rounder in next year’s draft,” wrote Kiper. “It’s a lot to give up, but Bill Belichick & Co. need a long-term solution at the game’s most important position.”

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With the pick, the Patriots took Jones, a quarterback that Kiper has compared in style to Tom Brady.

“I have Jones slightly ahead of Trey Lance, and I think he’s more ready to play as a rookie, particularly for a team that made several win-now moves this offseason,” Kiper noted. “Plus, Josh McDaniels has already proven that he can game plan for a pocket passer with tremendous accuracy.”

Yet Pro Football Focus, which released a first-round mock draft of its own on Monday, took a different approach. Instead of projecting that Belichick would trade up, football analyst Steve Palazzolo believes that Lance will fall in the draft all the way to New England’s original pick at 15.

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“New England is primed to move up for a quarterback on draft night, but the more I let this draft play out, the more comfortable I am with Lance in the middle of the first,” wrote Palazzolo. “He’s a dynamic runner who’s flashed the arm to hit every throw, but his accuracy is a notch below the other four first-round prospects. It’s a good play for New England, who have Cam Newton for one year, and they can take their time with Lance or throw him right into the mix when he’s ready.”

Trivia: Patrick Marleau is now the all-time leader in NHL games played. What former Bruin is second (behind Marleau) on that list among active players?

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(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Like Marleau, he debuted as an 18-year-old in 1997.

More from Boston.com:

A tribute video marking Milan Lucic’s 1000th career game included some Bruins cameos:

White Sox designated hitter Yermin Mercedes pitched an inning on Monday:

On this day: In 2003, Nomar Garciaparra’s walk-off home run completed a six-run Red Sox rally in the final four innings to beat the Blue Jays, 6-5.

Daily highlight: Jabari Parker showed he can still create some highlights, completing the alley-oop from Jayson Tatum.

Trivia answer: Joe Thornton

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