Bill Belichick started his pre-draft conference call briefly addressing the statement he made on Tom Brady’s departure from the New England Patriots then said the focus of the media session would be on the draft.
The Patriots head coach did make time to talk about his quarterback situation, however. Belichick was asked if he had a “good grasp” on 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham. Belichick even dropped in a nickname for Stidham during his answer.
“We spent quite a bit of time with both Brian (Hoyer) and Stid,” Belichick said. “I think we have a pretty good — (offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) and myself — we have a pretty good feel for both of those players. Circumstances will be different this year. We’ll see how everything plays out, but again, to start with, I think the main thing is to give everyone a chance to compete, to get people comfortable with the position and the skills that they’re playing, the communication that’s involved.
“We’ll evaluate the players as we get an opportunity to evaluate them. So, right now, the spring is about teaching the best that we can. At whatever point we get a chance to get on the field and participate and play, that’s what we’ll do. Not sure exactly how that’s going to go. Once we figure it out, then we’ll go from there.”
Belichick was asked earlier in the call if the Patriots would tweak their offense to their new quarterback’s skill set. He acknowledged that everything the Patriots did for the last 20 years was with Brady in mind. That, obviously, changes now.
“Whoever the quarterback is, we’ll try to make things work smoothly and efficiently for that player and take advantage of his strengths and his skills,” Belichick said.
Belichick also touched on the depth of the 2020 quarterback draft class and said there are “a lot of interesting players” in it.
The Patriots didn’t spend big on a veteran quarterback once Brady departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are still available, but the Patriots have yet to show interest in either quarterback.
The Patriots have the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. If a top quarterback falls, then the Patriots could be in position to trade up or stay put to select a passer. They also own three third-round picks and eight Day 3 selections.
Regardless of how the Patriots fill their No. 3 quarterback void, there should be competition at the quarterback position for the first time since 2001 when Belichick was deciding between Brady and Drew Bledsoe. That certainly makes this an interesting year to follow the Patriots.