Why Damien Woody Can’t See Patriots Drafting Quarterback In First Round


For most teams in the Patriots’ situation, drafting a quarterback in the first round would be the wisest move to make in the NFL draft.

But New England, of course, isn’t most teams.

The Patriots’ current quarterback situation leaves much to be desired. Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, sits atop the depth chart, while career journeyman Brian Hoyer is No. 2. All signs point to New England drafting a signal-caller at some point next week, but former Patriot Damien Woody can’t see it being in the opening round.

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“…I don’t see a scenario where the New England Patriots draft a quarterback in the first round, unless somebody like Tua (Tagovailoa) slips or the Patriots do something un-Patriot like and make a massive trade up, which I don’t see them doing,” Woody said Wednesday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “Bill Belichick, in his 20 years with the New England Patriots, has drafted 11 quarterbacks. His highest-drafted quarterback was Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, the 64th pick in the draft. What this tells me is they look for specific traits in a guy. It’s not necessarily, ‘Oh, we need a quarterback in the first round because that’s conventional wisdom.’ No, the Patriots and Bill Belichick look for specific things in a quarterback.

“I can tell you from first-hand experience, that system is hard, OK? It takes a special type of guy to come into that ‘Patriot Way,’ into that Patriots system, that offense and be able to digest that system and go out there and execute it on a high level. So, the Patriots are not going to just draft a quarterback in the first round because it’s a need. They’re going to draft a quarterback who fits. …It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-round pick or a seventh-round pick. It’s all about the traits that are within you that the Patriots view as a guy who can thrive within our system.”

Woody probably is right. The Patriots seem to like what they have in Stidham and they also have plenty of other important needs to address outside of quarterback. It probably would be in the franchise’s best interest to cross off a few items on the to-do list earlier in the draft and then select a signal-caller in the middle or late rounds. New England also could bolster its QB depth by staying patient and potentially landing a veteran in free agency on a discount.

As for potential quarterbacks whom the Patriots realistically could draft, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Georgia’s Jake Fromm are two names to keep an eye on.

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