How so? According to Mayfield's agent Jack Mills, the Patriots could have traded with the New York Giants to acquire the second overall pick -- and thereby select the reigning Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma.
Mills made the following claim on a podcast hosted by Andrew Brandt of The MMQB.
"We knew that the (New York) Jets at (No.) 3 was the bottom line. We had another team which is going to surprise you. Another team had said, 'You may get a big surprise on draft day, at No. 2, if he's available.' And it was the Patriots," Mills said. "They had (No.) 23 and they had 31 and they had two seconds. We thought, 'That's gonna be a heck of a move, to get up that high from where they are.' And of course he wasn't available so we never knew if that was reality or not."
Published reports surfaced that the Patriots were interested in trading up in the first round for a quarterback, although a massive leap to No. 2 likely would have come at a significant price.
The Patriots, of course, have their franchise quarterback in Tom Brady, a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player. Brady's future has been a talking point given his age (40) as well as rumored internal strife within the organization.
The MMQB's Albert Breer and Robert Klemko noted that the Patriots were denied a meeting with Mayfield until after the team acquired the No. 23 overall pick as part of the trade that sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams.
New England's primary backup is veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer, although the Patriots selected LSU's Danny Etling in the seventh round in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Etling, the 219th overall pick, played at Purdue before transferring to LSU in 2016. In two years as a starter with the Tigers, he completed 325 of 544 passes for 2,463 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The Patriots chose Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel with their two first-round picks.