Patriots doing their homework on second-tier QBs Davis Mills, Kellen Mond, Kyle Trask

The Patriots would like to add a quarterback in the 2021 NFL draft, but the big five prospects — Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Trey Lance and Justin Fields — all may be gone before the Patriots are on the clock at No. 15.

But don’t rule out New England drafting a quarterback, possibly tonight or perhaps tomorrow.

The Patriots have spent plenty of time with the second tier of quarterbacks in this year’s draft, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.

That group would include Stanford’s Davis Mills, Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond and Florida’s Kyle Trask, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the Patriots select one of them.

Taking one of those quarterbacks 15th overall may be too high, but don’t rule out the possibility of the Patriots trading down from No. 15 and then taking a quarterback late in the first round. There’s also the possibility that the Patriots go with another quarterback at No. 15 but then move back into the first round, using their second-round pick and more to get a pick late tonight.

There’s an advantage to picking a player late in the first round as opposed to early in the second, because first-round picks have the fifth-year option in their contracts. Having the ability to control a player for a fifth year, rather than letting him hit free agency after four years, makes taking him in the first round attractive.

At the moment, the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart consists of Cam Newton as the starter and Jarrett Stidham as the backup. It seems awfully unlikely that Bill Belichick wants to go into training camp with that depth chart. Expect him to add another quarterback, perhaps as soon as tonight.