Bill Belichick sees potential in this year’s crop of draft-eligible quarterbacks.
Belichick, whose New England Patriots likely will be in the market for a signal-caller when the 2020 NFL Draft kicks off next week, shared his thoughts on the available QBs during a conference call with New England reporters.
“Well, I think similar to most years, there’s quite a range of players,” Belichick said Monday. “Some of the systems that they play in in college are different either than what we run or what traditional NFL systems would look like, and some are more closely schematically to that.
“Each guy has his own set of skills, has his own circumstances. Some players have played well over a sustained period of time. Some players had an exceptional year in the last year or two — maybe 2019, in some cases 2018 — and then for whatever the reasons were, the two years didn’t quite match up. But that’s, I’d say, about the way it always is.”
One player who fits that description is Utah State’s Jordan Love, whom the Patriots reportedly have done “homework” on during the pre-draft process. After throwing 32 touchdown passes with six interceptions as a redshirt sophomore in 2018, Love managed just 20 touchdowns with 17 interceptions in 2019, raising serious questions about his decision-making.
Love has been a popular mock draft selection for the Patriots at No. 23 overall, but it’s unclear whether they plan to address the position early in the draft.
If they wait, likely Day 2 options include Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Washington’s Jacob Eason and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. Washington State’s Anthony Gordon and Florida International’s James Morgan should come off the board in the early stages of Day 3, with Iowa’s Nate Stanley, Hawaii’s Cole McDonald, Oregon State’s Jake Luton, Princeton’s Kevin Davidson and Utah’s Tyler Huntley falling into the “late-round flier” category.
A trade up for Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Justin Herbert is another theoretical possibility, but with the Patriots owning just one of the top 86 picks, constructing a desirable trade package would be difficult unless either player falls on draft night.
Belichick noted the depth of this year’s quarterback class in his Monday call.
“There are always a variety of things you have to try to put together and look at,” he said. “But certainly, there’s a lot of interesting players and guys that have really good arms, can really throw the ball. There’s some really athletic players. Players that have won a lot of games and have shown their competitiveness and instinctiveness. It’s an interesting group and probably one that has decent depth to it.”
The Patriots currently have just two QBs under contract — 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer — after losing Tom Brady in free agency and cutting Cody Kessler. They’re likely to add at least one more before the start of training camp.