INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a tremendous year for the New England Patriots to need a quarterback in the NFL draft.
The 2018 class is stacked with quarterbacks, and they all were saying the right things Friday afternoon when asked how they would feel about beginning their careers backing up an entrenched starter.
That’s obviously the position they would enter if drafted by the Patriots with Tom Brady atop the quarterback depth chart.
“Yeah, whatever situation I get blessed to be a part of, whatever organization, I’m going to prepare like a starter no matter if I am starting Day 1 or if I’m in a role where I’m backing up a veteran guy,” Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph said. “I’m excited to get in whatever situation, whatever opportunity I get to make the best of it and to put my best foot forward.”
And what would it be like to play behind Brady?
“That would be obviously pretty darn cool,” Rudolph said. “I think to learn from one of the best of all time and a football mind like Tom and to soak up that wisdom would be a great opportunity. Whatever team it is, I’m going to maximize the potential of my role and compete my butt off.”
Rudolph is among the consensus top six quarterbacks in the 2018 draft class, though he could be available when the Patriots select 31st overall in the first round or maybe even when they pick 43rd overall in the second round.
A guy who might not be available for the Patriots is UCLA’s Josh Rosen, who could be a top five pick. He gave a great answer when asked how he would feel about backing up the New York Giants’ Eli Manning, but the sentiment also applies to the Patriots and Brady.
“A lot of questions I get from teams are basically like, ‘What’s your goal at the end of year one? What are you trying to accomplish?’ My answer to that is to have my coach be completely satisfied with what I’ve done,” Rosen said. “Whatever he’s asked me to do, I’m going to do that to the best of my ability.
“If he asks me to be a backup, I’m going to be the country’s best backup quarterback. I’m going to support my starter through everything. It might be, I don’t know, a rough relationship to start at the beginning, because they kind of see the dynamic, but I’m going to do absolutely everything I can to help the team win. If they ask me to compete for the starting job, I’m going to compete my butt off. Whatever my coach asks me to do, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta, a mid-round prospect, said it would be “a dream come true” to be the next Jimmy Garoppolo and back up Brady. Lauletta has been described by analysts as Bill Belichick’s perfect quarterback.
“I think any quarterback would love to be in that position,” Lauletta said. “I think learning from a guy like Tom Brady, you can get so much just by the way he works and just by observing how he goes about his business day to day. So, wherever I end up, I think I’ll be in a good spot, but that would definitely be a good one, no doubt.”