Tom Brady eventually will not be the quarterback of the New England Patriots, even though all indications point toward the 41-year old pushing forward for a few more season as he chases a seventh Super Bowl ring.
Still, many analysts see the Patriots preparing themselves should Brady decide to call it a career before his age-45 season, the mark the quarterback has set for himself. And ESPN’s longtime NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper sees the Patriots selecting Brady’s successor with their first round pick in the 2019 draft.
New England is slotted to pick 32nd overall April 25. Kiper, sticking with his first mock draft prediction, has the Patriots selecting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, and continued to beat the drum on the 6-foot-4 signal caller.
“I continue to believe Bill Belichick and the Patriots will use some of their draft capital on a quarterback. It could be here, or it could be with one of their two second-round picks,” Kiper wrote. “There could be several QBs going in the first three rounds. Jones is an athletic 6-4 signal-caller who can be an erratic thrower at times but is already advanced in his footwork. He’d benefit from sitting and learning behind Tom Brady. The Super Bowl champs have several prominent free agents who could leave, so we’ll know much more in a month about which positions they could target.”
Jones is the fourth quarterback off the board by Kiper’s predictions, with Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray and Drew Lock preceding him, all in the first 15 picks. Some have speculated that the Pats could eye trading up to draft Murray.
Jones remains an intriguing option, however. The Blue Devils signal caller had a solid senior season, that culminated with the best game of his Duke career, in which he set career highs in passing yards (423) and touchdown passes (five) in a resounding 56-27 win over Temple in the Independence Bowl.
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