Could Justin Herbert slip to the Patriots at No. 23 in the NFL Draft?

With the 23rd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots are looking toward the future. With Tom Brady a free agent and on the wrong side of 40, the time is now for the Pats to look for his successor. But who will they either trade for or draft is the big question? Fans are wondering if Justin Herbert from Oregon will be available.

Yes, he should be and here’s why.

This is a receiver and defense-rich draft. But with that said, there is a chance four QBs could go in the first round according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. He believes the Cincinnati Bengals will grab Joe Burrow at No. 1, the Miami Dolphins will take Tau Tagovailoa at No. 5, the Indianapolis Colts have Jordan Love at No. 13, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will snatch Herbert with the 14th pick.

While all that is possible, there is a great chance none of that will happen. It’s not about Jeremiah getting it wrong, it comes down to needs and not taking the best player available.

Let’s start with the Bengals. Everyone is not 100 percent sure that Burrow is their guy. Andy Dalton is still under contract for one more year and if AJ Green is back healthy, maybe the Bengals want to give that pair one more shot at redemption. Are the Bengals willing to draft a QB No. 1 then sit him for an entire year? What happens if they do that and Dalton has a career year? Even with the Patriots picking 23rd, their future hinges on what teams like the Bengals decide to do.

The next team on the QB hunt is the Dolphins. The Dolphins need a new signal-caller but taking one in the draft is not their only option. With Dalton possibly available they could make a move for him. Then you still have the Oakland Raiders and what they will decide to do with Derek Carr. And how can we forget the drama that’s going on with the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton?

Then we have the next possible team in the Buccaneers. Although questions surrounding Jameis Winston has emerged, it would be foolish for the Buccaneers to just let a productive, young veteran walk out the door. He will be resigned.

Through 14 picks, the New England Patriots are sitting in a great spot and Herbert is still on the board.

The dark horse team to watch out for is the Los Angeles Chargers. With rumors that Philip Rivers may have moved on, that puts the Chargers in the market. And by holding the sixth pick, they have a great chance to get a young signal-caller. Or, they can make a trade for either Dalton, Newton, Carr or sign Winston.

With all of that, the Patriots and Justin Herbert are still on a collision course for each other. The teams ahead of them after the Bucs pick at 14 will likely go receiver or defense. The Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, Dolphins (Tau), Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, and Buffalo Bills are solid at the position.

Then we have the Patriots on the clock with Herbert still sitting in the Green Room. Does he fit what the Pats are looking to do offensively? Yes, he does. And thanks to a QB heavy draft and teams already stocked at that position heading into the draft, the Pats will walk away with the guy they may not have wanted, but the one they actually need.

And the best part about this is, he may not be that sure-fire homerun like Burrow or Tau. So, the hope is that Brady will come back for a year, tutor the kid, and then step aside.

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