Patriots Draft Trends: QB Size Unsurprisingly Valued Over Athleticism


Feb 25, 2016

Surprise, surprise: Tom Brady’s team doesn’t seem to highly value athleticism at quarterback.

The New England Patriots have drafted just eight quarterbacks since Bill Belichick was hired in 2000 and three have starting experience in the NFL. Brady, obviously, has been the most successful, while Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallet were still starting games as recently as the 2015 season.

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— The Patriots typically draft quarterbacks who are taller than 6-foot-3, though Rohan Davey, Zac Robinson and Jimmy Garoppolo are exceptions.

— The Patriots experimented with selecting athletic quarterbacks by drafting Kevin O’Connell and Robinson. Neither pick worked out, nor did the Patriots’ Tim Tebow free-agent experiment in 2013. Cassel also is more athletic than the average Patriots quarterback.

— There are no hand or arm measurements available for the Patriots’ first four quarterback picks under Belichick. Brady is known for having big hands, while Kliff Kingsbury was known to have smaller hands.

— Brian Hoyer, a Patriots undrafted free agent in 2009, has 32-inch arms and 9.5-inch hands. Tebow has 31.75-inch arms and 10.25-inch hands.

— Ryan Mallett has giant hands, but Robinson, O’Connell and Garoppolo all have below-average sized hands.

— Davey, Robinson, O’Connell and Mallett had below-average Wonderlic scores. Cassel’s isn’t known because he wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

— Davey, Kingsbury, O’Connell and Robinson combined for just 27 career passing attempts.

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— Patriots quarterbacks are, on average, taller, heavier, longer, smarter and have more lateral quickness than most NFL quarterbacks.

— Patriots quarterbacks also have smaller hands and are typically slower and less explosive than average.

The Patriots are unlikely to draft a quarterback unless they plan to trade Garoppolo. The Patriots also could select a quarterback late in the draft if they want to carry a third signal-caller during the season. will go position by position to analyze the Patriots’ draft trends prior to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. Look through our cornerbackrunning backlinebacker, wide receiverdefensive endoffensive line, defensive tackle, tight end and safety trends.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Oct 29, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) takes the field before the start of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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