Since Bill Belichick became the New England Patriots’ head coach in 2000, he has consistently taken quarterbacks in the first four rounds of the NFL draft.
Belichick drafted quarterbacks in the top four rounds in 2002 (Rohan Davey), 2008 (Kevin O’Connell), 2011 (Ryan Mallett), 2014 (Jimmy Garoppolo) and 2016 (Jacoby Brissett). The Patriots are due for another QB with Tom Brady turning 42 years old in August and Brian Hoyer entering the final year of his contract.
In a conference call with reporters, NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah identified two potential signal callers the Patriots could draft in North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley and Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham.
“Finley is somebody that — I was at his pro day, and Nick Caserio was there taking a look at him,” Jeremiah said. “He operates the way they like to operate. He’s smart. He’s efficient. He gets the ball out of his hand quick. I think he fits offensively what Josh McDaniels wants to do and likes to do. I think he’d be a great fit there.
“Stidham is one of the true wild cards because he spins it as well or better than anybody in this entire draft class. In shorts, he’d be a top-five pick. Unfortunately, it hasn’t clicked on the field like you’d want to see at Auburn. Some of that is the lack of protection. Some of it is an offensive system that’s not great for him. But just throwing the football, he’s a great athlete. I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to develop him, but I could make a case he makes a lot of sense for the Patriots because they’ve got a little bit of time, no pun intended, with Tom there. He’s not going anywhere right now. That would give you a chance to really develop a guy like this with a potential huge upside. Really as much upside as any quarterback in the draft class. Stidham is very talented. So that might be a risk worth taking.”
Finley’s among the most accurate quarterbacks in the draft. Stidham’s production took a downturn in 2018 after a solid 2017 season. He threw just 11 interceptions in two seasons at Auburn, however.
Other potential fits for the Patriots at quarterback are Duke’s Daniel Jones, West Virginia’s Will Grier, Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson and Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson.
Thumbnail photo via Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports Images