What Patriots Passing On QBs In NFL Draft Means For Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer

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Thirteen quarterbacks were selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. None of them are headed to New England.

In perhaps their biggest draft-weekend surprise, the Patriots opted not to use any of their 10 picks on a QB despite having just two on their roster (Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer) and no slam-dunk candidate to succeed Tom Brady.

New England’s decision to steer clear of signal-callers was a clear indication of confidence in Hoyer and, especially, Stidham, last year’s fourth-round draft pick. Stidham beat out Hoyer for the top backup spot last summer after impressing in his first NFL preseason.

“Yeah, I like both those players,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Saturday in a post-draft video conference. “We’ve had Brian a couple times, and I think he certainly gives us a very solid level of play. We have a lot of confidence in him. And Jarrett had a good year last year. He improved a lot, and we’ll see where that takes him. I have confidence in both players.”

Belichick said the Patriots were open to drafting a quarterback, but the proper opportunity to do so never materialized. They notably passed on Utah State’s Jordan Love in the first round (to trade back) and Georgia’s Jake Fromm in the fifth (to take kicker Justin Rohrwasser).

“The bottom line is we’re evaluating that position along with all the other ones,” Belichick said, “and if we feel like we find the right situation, we’ll certainly draft (quarterbacks). We’ve drafted them in multiple years and at multiple points in the draft. It didn’t work out the last three days. That wasn’t by design. It could have, but it didn’t.

“There are multiple ways to build your team. We’ll see whether or not that comes up at a different point in time. I don’t know. But we just tried to do the best we could with what we had in this weekend. That’s what we did, and we’ll see where it goes.”

The Patriots reportedly plan to fill the third spot on their QB depth chart — vacated by the release of Cody Kessler earlier this month — by signing Louisiana Tech’s J’Mar Smith as an undrafted free agent. Belichick wouldn’t confirm the signing but acknowledged the team had spoken with Smith, a dual-threat quarterback who completed 64.3 of his passes last season.

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