Patriots Draft Rumors: New England Hosting Local QB For Pre-Draft Visit

The Patriots could be in the market for a developmental QB

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An NFL draft prospect with strong local ties reportedly is visiting the New England Patriots on Wednesday.

The Patriots are hosting Brown quarterback EJ Perry for a pre-draft visit at Gillette Stadium, according to a report from ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Perry, who grew up an hour north of Foxboro in Andover, Mass., began his collegiate career at Boston College before transferring to Brown in 2019. He quickly became a star in the Ivy League, leading the conference in total yards in each of his two seasons (his 2020 campaign was canceled due to COVID-19) while excelling as a passer and rusher.

The Ivy League’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2021, Perry proceeded to deliver impressive showings at the East-West Shrine Bowl (241 passing yards, three touchdowns to win Offensive MVP) and the NFL Scouting Combine. His 6.85-second three-cone drill and 4.18-second short shuttle were the fastest of any QB who tested in Indianapolis, and his 40-yard dash (4.65 seconds), vertical jump (34 1/2 inches) and broad jump (123 inches) ranked second behind Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder.

That athleticism could help Perry stick on an NFL roster, with NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein writing that the 6-foot-2, 211-pound signal-caller “might be able to play versatile, Taysom Hill-like role for an offense.” Perry carried the ball 253 times for 1,132 yards and 15 touchdowns over his two seasons at Brown.

“Perry has average size and arm strength but below-average mechanics and consistency as a passer,” Zierlein wrote in Perry’s NFL.com draft profile. “He doesn’t value the football enough as a decision-maker and lacks a desired level of ball placement. His toughness and talent as a runner create attention, as teams might ask Perry to add a few more pounds in order to see if he can become a valuable Swiss Army Knife who’s able to help at a variety of positions, including special teams.”

Perry also has had visits with Nick Caserio’s Houston Texans and Josh McDaniels’ Las Vegas Raiders during the pre-draft process. He’s been training with Patriots QBs Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham at a facility in Foxboro, per The Boston Globe.

The Patriots don’t have a need at quarterback with Jones coming off a promising debut season and veteran backup Brian Hoyer re-signing for two more years, but they could look to target a developmental option in the NFL draft or undrafted free agency. It’s unclear how they plan to proceed with Stidham, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract and didn’t play a snap in 2021.

Perry is projected as a Day 3 pick.

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