Patriots Draft Pick Analysis: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

In a stunner, it looks like the Patriots have drafted their quarterback of the future.

I don't know what to say. I think this is what happens when you hear that your favorite TV show was only given one last season. Or when that last thread on the band your favorite pair of underwear loses its stretchiness. The end is nigh and inescapable.

So ends the Tom Brady era in New England.

The Patriots have selected quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois (alma mater of Tony Romo) with the 62nd overall pick.

So of course, don't be surprised if the Patriots manage to trade away current back-up quarterback Ryan Mallett for whatever they can get in return. The Texans still don't have their quarterback and it's possible that both New England and Houston were waiting to see how the quarterback picture played out before solidifying a deal; the Texans didn't get their guy, the Patriots did. Maybe Mallett becomes Houston's guy.

But here comes the Garoppolo era, a new dawn of...who knows what. But it's here and we have to accept it.

Brady will be 37 at the start of this season and the final season of his contract will line up with Garoppolo's final year as a back-up, on a standard four year contract for a rookie.

As James Christensen says, if you find yourself needing to draft a franchise quarterback, you've waited too long.

Somehow this pick feels hollow, but the board was not friendly. The tight ends were taken. The running backs were taken. The wide receivers were gone. The top center and guard were taken. I could have supported a range of other picks, but there was a serious run on talent right before the Patriots' picked.

Garoppolo may be the quarterback of the future. It's hard to justify a second round pick, unless there was a trade for Mallett already in the works. But apparently the Patriots are set on finding Brady's replacement and they're not going to wait for Old Man Time to get the best of the franchise. Mort of ESPN even reported that the Patriots were considering Johnny Manziel in the first if he were on the board and Dominique Easley was not.

The Patriots wanted a quarterback and they wanted him badly. I personally believe that Brady can outplay his current contract, but four years is a really long time. Injuries unfortunately happen. Cliffs do too. Maybe Garoppolo is the quarterback to bridge the franchise into the future.

Despair. Dislike. Discontentment. And this is all about our internal feelings without actually evaluating the prospect.

Garoppolo can play. He is the quickest decision maker in the draft, which suits the Patriots offensive style of play. His short range passes are "lightning quick". He has "great passing vision" and provides "great touch". He "wins with his intelligence" and is "tough minded". He comes with an NFL skill set where he goes "through progressions in his offense and even [moves] the pocket in order to create time and direct traffic to find an open man."

He's an able quarterback and possible the best fit to provide a seamless transition from Brady's style of play. He's a menace between the hashes and doesn't throw interceptions.

Again, you don't want to be in a position where you have to draft a franchise quarterback. If there were any other position on the team where the player was one of the two or three oldest in the league, the outcry for drafting the future replacement in the second round would be minimal. The distaste comes with the fact that we believe Brady can play forever.

I'll watch more Garoppolo tape and I'll tell you what I think later on. I'll be honest when I'm done. I thought he was a little antsy in the pocket in my initial review, but I believe his quick passes and accuracy fits the Patriots offensive system better than Mallett ever did or ever would.

Until then, let this one stew for a bit and think of Belichick's big picture. He drafted the heir to the cornerstone of the defense in round one, showing a complete shift from the 3-4 to the 4-3 front. Now he drafted the potential heir to the offensive throne.

Times are a'changin'. We don't have to like it. Because change is nigh and inescapable.

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