FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots were expected to take a quarterback on one of the first two days of the 2019 NFL Draft, but they ultimately passed.
Pun intended. It’s been a long two days.
Perhaps they don’t think it’s necessary to take a QB, or maybe they’re just reading the room. Or perhaps it’s just a poor draft class. Only five quarterbacks have been selected through two days of the draft. Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins went in the first round, while Drew Lock was selected at the top of the second round, and Will Grier went at the end of the third round.
The Patriots have three picks in the fourth round (Nos. 118, 133, 144) and four selections in the seventh round (Nos. 239, 243, 252), and there are still a handful of intriguing signal callers left in the draft. If the Patriots really want one, they could package picks to move up to the top of the fourth round. Otherwise, they can sit back and see if one of these players falls to pick No. 118 or lower.
Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Jackson has the highest upside in this group. He’s 6-foot-7, 249 pounds with a big arm and top-tier athleticism. He ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash with a 34.5-inch vertical leap, 10-foot broad jump, 7.09-second 3-cone drill and 4.28-second short shuttle. He also has a big, if inaccurate, arm.
Jackson completed just 55.2 percent of his passes for 3,129 yards with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season. He ranked second in average depth of target, however, throwing 14.3 yards downfield per attempt, according to Pro Football Focus.
Jackson compares to Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, and there’s really no reason why he’ll be a Day 3 pick while Allen was a top-10 pick. Jackson was even more inaccurate than Allen, but he also threw a deeper pass per attempt.
If you’re going to take a QB in the fourth round, you might as well see if you can fix Jackson’s deficiencies.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Stidham also has flaws with upside. He was much better in 2017, when he had a better supporting cast around him, than he was in 2018. He completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 2,795 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2018. He completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 3,156 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017.
His receivers dropped seven percent of his passing attempts in 2018, helping to raise his adjusted completion percentage to 73.7 percent, good for 15th in college football.
Stidham was a fairly average college quarterback in 2018. He was much better in 2017. The hope here is he could re-find what was lost from 2017.
Ryan Finley, North Carolina State
Finley is the safest option in this group. He’s slim at 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, but so was Tom Brady. They actually have the exact same height-weight-agility coming out of college.
Finley is among the most accurate quarterbacks in this class, and he has decent arm strength. Perhaps he could bulk up and improve his throwing ability. He struggled against pressure but threw a very catchable football.
Easton Stick, North Dakota State
Stick is one of the most athletic quarterbacks in this class. He ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash with a 6.65-second 3-cone drill and 4.05-second short shuttle. Those times would be amazing for a wide receiver or cornerback, let alone a QB.
Stick was a great deep passer at the FCS level. He ranked third in Pro Football Focus’ deep passing adjusted completion percentage and seventh in average depth of target (12.2 yards). He wasn’t overly accurate but is among the best scrambling QBs in his class.
Brett Rypien, Boise State
Rypien actually beat out Finley for the Boise State job, forcing Finley to transfer to NC State.
He tied with Grier for fastest throwing velocity at the NFL Scouting Combine at 59 MPH. He’s among the most accurate quarterbacks in the draft but is undersized at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds.
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
The Patriots hosted Thorson on a visit, which is why we’re including him on this list. Otherwise, he didn’t rank high in PFF’s metrics and threw just 17 touchdowns to 15 interceptions in 2018. He threw 61 touchdowns and 45 interceptions in his four-year college career and completed 58.3 percent of his passes.
He did a nice job going through his reads. Otherwise, we don’t get it. Maybe the Patriots will.