Fresh off an MVP season and historic Super Bowl performance, there is little doubt that Tom Brady will not be the best quarterback – or at least among the best ones – in the NFL next year. However, turning 41 in August, the end is certainly near and the the team consequently in need for a long-term option. Whether it will take one in this year's draft remains to be seen but the Patriots are certainly looking.
The team has been linked to multiple players over the last weeks – and two more should be added to the list: Louisville's Lamar Jackson (per Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman) and Western Kentucky's Mike White (per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport). Let's take a closer look at the two quarterbacks, the interest New England has in them and what they might bring to the team if actually selected:
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
The youngest player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Jackson has been the Cardinals' primary quarterback for the past three years. A prolific player throughout his career, the 6'2, 215 lbs dual-threat carried the football 232 times in 2017, gaining 1,601 yards and scoring 18 times. While his passing numbers were less impressive – he completed 59.1% of his throws for 3,660 yards, 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions –, Jackson still got the job done: Playing in an offense similar to New England's, he displayed a strong arm, an ability to diagnose coverages and a solid understanding of play development.
QB Mike White, Western Kentucky
After two up-and-down years (mostly down) at Southern Florida, White transferred to Western Kentucky following the 2014 season. After having to sit out one year, the 6'4, 225 lbs passer established himself as the Hilltoppers' starter and went on to complete 66.4% of his attempts with a 9:2 touchdown-interception ratio. His productivity, accuracy and experience are not the only positive traits White displayed: He also has one of the best arms in the draft. And while he needs to improve his pocket movement, White would be an intriguing mid-round pick.
Jackson and White are both interesting quarterbacks for the Patriots – but two that are projected to get picked around 100 spots apart: Jackson, who according to Freeman's report draws interest from multiple teams with Patriots being “most interested”, is a likely first-rounder, while it would be a surprise to see White go earlier than day three.