The New England Patriots are expected to select a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft who would serve as Tom Brady’s backup and heir-apparent. Earlier, the Patriots were anticipated to pick a signal-caller midway through the draft, looking at talents that could become the next Jimmy Garoppolo. However, things changed quickly when the Patriots traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams for the 23rd overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Now, the Patriots have two first-round selections, the 23rd, and the 31st picks, making it possible for them to pick a big-name signal-caller.

Early mock drafts predicted that the Patriots would address their most urgent need at offensive tackle, taking one that would replace Nate Solder as Brady’s blindside protector.

Patriots interested in Baker Mayfield

With two first-round picks, anything’s possible now for the Patriots, who could move up and take one of the five top quarterbacks on the board -- Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson. Among the five quarterbacks, the Patriots are most interested in Mayfield, who expressed a willingness to become Brady’s backup and to learn from the veteran quarterback. According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Patriots have shown interest in taking Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner.

Mehta reported that a few teams in the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft are aware of the Patriots’ affinity for Mayfield. Baker started eight games for Texas Tech before he transferred to Oklahoma. In his four-year college career, Mayfield completed 1,026-of-1,497 passes for 14,607 yards and 131 touchdowns with 30 interceptions.

Mayfield is also a dual-threat signal-caller, rushing 404 times for 1,083 yards and 21 touchdowns in his college career. Last season, Mayfield completed 285-of-404 passes for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns with six interceptions en route to the Heisman Trophy.

Patriots work out Mason Rudolph

The Patriots could also settle for another quarterback outside of the top five signal-callers, like Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State.

The Patriots recently had a private workout with Rudolph, who is also receiving interest from the Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Cincinnati Bengals. Rudolph is also expected to visit the Buffalo Bills. The 22-year-old Rudolph completed 65 percent of his passes for 4,904 yards and 37 touchdowns with nine interceptions during his senior year. According to Mike Mayock of NFL Media, Rudolph will be a logical fit for Belichick and the Patriots. Some draft experts expect Rudolph to be selected late in the first round or early second round. Mel Kiper had the Patriots selecting Rudolph 63rd overall in his latest mock draft.