FOXBORO, Mass. — So, as it turns out, the New England Patriots did not trade up in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft for a quarterback.
And they didn’t take one in the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth rounds either. The Patriots waited until the 219th overall pick in the seventh round of the draft to take LSU’s Danny Etling.
So, what are the Patriots getting in the 6-foot-2, 215-pound signal caller?
He’s a decent athlete. Etling ran a 4.76-second 40-yard dash with a 1.63-second 10-yard split, 7.09-second 3-cone, 4.37-second short shuttle, 30.5-inch vertical leap and 9-foot, 6-inch broad jump during the pre-draft process.
He completed 60 percent of his passes in 2017 for 2,463 yards with 16 touchdowns and two interceptions. In his college career, he completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 7,076 yards with 43 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He transferred from Purdue to LSU after the 2014 season.
Etling rated high in Pro Football Focus’ deep passing metric. He completed 25-of-55 passes of 20 yards or over for 951 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. He ranked below average in PFF’s adjusted completion percentage and under pressure metrics, however.
Etling’s NFL.com scouting report mirrors what PFF’s advanced stats say. Etling is regarded as having a big arm but struggles under pressure.
Etling, obviously, shouldn’t be considered Tom Brady’s successor as the Patriots’ starting quarterback after being drafted in the seventh round. He’ll be given a shot at making the 53-man roster during OTAs, minicamp and training camp, but there’s probably an equal chance he either gets cut or spends a year on the practice squad.
The Patriots were expected to draft a quarterback earlier in the draft, since Brady will be 41 years old in August, but they passed over higher rated quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph and Kyle Lauletta numerous times.
The Patriots still could add a free-agent quarterback (Johnny Manziel?) to compete with Etling and backup quarterback Brian Hoyer. The Patriots acquired second- and third-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft by trading out of this year’s event, so they might be starting the search for Brady’s heir apparent over again next spring.