One of the least talked about and most intriguing story lines going into this draft is the Patriots current quarterback situation. Obviously we already have the second coming of Christ on the roster, but after the first slot on the depth chart the future looks murky at best. The Pats made news earlier last month by bringing Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater in for workouts on back to back days, which some interpreted as a sign that they are ready to move on from Ryan Mallett in the 2nd slot and possibly groom a successor for Brady.
This would make some sense. Mallett hasn’t really turned heads since he was picked 75th overall in 2011. Remember when he came in on Monday night against the Texans in 2012 to run up the score and all he did was throw a duck interception? Fans just don’t have any really good memories of this guy, whether it be in the preseason or in lopsided games and there is nothing about him that screams a need to re sign him. He will be an unrestricted free agent this year and it’d be shocking to see him on the Patriots in 2015.
This is one of the deepest quarterback classes in the last decade. There might not be a ton of superstar potential at the top but there are some proven winners with great arms that will fall to at least the second day of the draft if not the third. I’m not going to break down everyone individually, but here’s just an overview of a few guys that would make sense in this system (have a head on their shoulders and can make NFL throws right now):
-AJ McCarron (Alabama)
-Zach Mettenberger (LSU)
-Aaron Murray (Georgia)
-Tom Savage (Pittsburgh)
Those guys are all distinct possibilities in the third or fourth round, but if the Patriots are looking for a really great value (honestly, who knows exactly what they are looking for?), they might want to take a look at Logan Thomas out of Virginia Tech. He’s got the size at 6’6 240 pounds, but he is rough and may not necessarily be a system fit. He’s the perfect guy to develop behind Brady, seeing as he was a winner at VT and has shown a good amount of growth since his freshman year. He still has trouble throwing the ball accurately and tends to take off and run if he doesn’t get his first read, but he can be developed into a viable quarterback with the right tutelage. He’s expected to go anywhere from the mid 4th to the 6th round, so Thomas is definitely a solid option.
And there is one more possibility, but it is far less likely. Many mock drafts have Teddy Bridgewater, who was the number one rated QB going into this draft season, going to Houston with the first pick of the second round. The Patriots are just sitting there right ahead of them at 28, and perhaps they saw something they really liked during his visit to Foxboro. Bridgewater could use a couple of years behind a guy like Brady to refine his game but he is coming from a pro style system under Charlie Strong at Louisville and he has a great head on his shoulders. He is not someone that would frustrate a coach with boneheaded decisions. All he needs is to put on some muscle and he could be a good starter in today’s NFL, and possibly a worthy successor to Brady down the line.
Regardless it will be interesting to see if the Pats take advantage of the unprecedented depth at quarterback this year or if they decide to keep biding their time in answering that unanswerable question: who can replace Tom Brady?