Patriots reportedly 'impressed and intrigued' with Lamar Jackson after top-30 visit

After trading both Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo last season, the New England Patriots no longer have in place a natural successor to Tom Brady at quarterback. But with the Pats having acquired a second first-round pick in this week's NFL Draft by trading Brandin Cooks to the Rams, rumors have been flying that they may be in the market for a passer on Day 1, in order to ensure they have a succession plan in place. 

Well, let's just say those rumors are not going to quiet down after this report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Rapoport notes that the Pats quietly had a top-30 visit with Louisville's Lamar Jackson two weeks ago, and that the organization came away "impressed and intrigued" by Jackson. 

Jackson doesn't necessarily fit the mold of the quarterbacks the Patriots have selected in past years, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be the right fit for them. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are always trying to stay a step ahead of the latest offensive and defensive developments, and it's entirely possible they've identified Jackson's skill set (intermediate-to-deep passing/designed runs/mobility) as being what they need to build their post-Brady offense around. 

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There are few destinations that would be more intriguing for Jackson, considering the creativity with which the Patriots have built their offense over the years. Getting to learn from Brady wouldn't be a bad thing for his development, either. 

The operative question here is whether the Patriots could snag Jackson by staying put at picks No. 23 and 31, or whether they would need to move up in the draft in order to get him. Bill Belichick has been loath to trade up in the past, doing so only a scant few times. One of those times worked out pretty well, as the Pats jumped up the board to select Rob Gronkowski. If the Pats view Jackson -- or anyone else, really -- as a similarly transformative or impactful player, it wouldn't be the biggest shock to see them break tendency once again. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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