The New England Patriots were tied to Lamar Jackson during the 2018 draft a few months after they had traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. New England no longer had an heir apparent for whenever Tom Brady would decide to retire.
The Patriots had a pair of late first round picks, but they instead selected Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel, which left the Baltimore Ravens trading back into the first round at No. 32 to select Jackson.
"Now, you've got to know this: the Patriots spent a lot of time on Lamar Jackson," said Lombardi on the GM Shuffle Podcast. "They spent a ton of time. When Baltimore traded from 22 to 25 with New England sitting at 23, they had to have known New England was all over Lamar. They had sent Josh McDaniels there. They spent time with him. There was a lot of talk... I was talking about it that I thought they would draft him. I really did.
"At the end of the day, I think they felt like they had to change completely and the transition from Tom to Lamar probably would have been too dramatic in one year, and so I think they passed. I think they had genuine, genuine interest in the kid.
"I know this because my son coached at Louisville."