I wrote a few days ago that I would be back here in the days leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft to write about which quarterback I want the Patriots to select as the successor to Tom Brady, and I’m a man of my word.
Like many other Pats fans, I’ve spent the last several weeks mulling over the QB options that are expected to be drafted in the first and second rounds. I’ve jumped from one guy to another more times than a pornographic actress. I decided on one QB, then five minutes later, realized there was a minor detail I didn’t like about said QB, and moved on to another QB. And the process has repeated itself like a broken record. I’ve probably circled around the group at least 426 times.
Since the draft is this Thursday, however, I figured it was time to actually make a final decision. Assuming the Patriots plan on drafting a quarterback in the first round, or maybe the second round (they currently have picks 23, 31, 43, and 63 barring more trades), here are the options being taken into consideration:
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Sam Darnold, USC
Josh Allen, Wyoming
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
There has also been some discussion about Kyle Lauletta from Richmond possibly being on Bill Belichick’s radar, but I figure he’s most likely going to fall a little bit to one of the later rounds. So I examined the previous six players, embracing the scenario as if Belichick was 100 percent set on taking one of them in the first or second round.
Here are the conclusions I came to:
I crossed Darnold and Allen off the list early. Those two guys will most likely be selected in the top five. The Pats would have to give up waaaaaay too much for an opportunity to draft one of them. Not happening. I crossed Mayfield off the list as well, mainly because the kid is a head case. He’s a talented quarterback, but the Patriots don’t need a kid who stirred up media drama last season by tauntingly grabbing his crotch. He sounds like a perfect match for the Jets.
So the final three quarterbacks I narrowed my decision down to were Jackson, Rosen, and Rudolph.
I watched a little bit of film on Jackson and read up on his strengths and weaknesses. He’s got plenty of skill, but there are also plenty of questions about his accuracy and his motions. Obviously, accuracy is one of the most important assets of a quarterback; you have to be able to place the ball exactly in the right spot, especially when you’re throwing into heavy coverage. Jackson will be a work in progress for his first couple of years in the league, and ultimately, he will probably end up being another Tyrod Taylor – a good quarterback, but not a great one. If the Patriots selected him, I could live with the pick. But it wouldn’t be my first choice.
As for Josh Rosen … well … he should probably be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Of all the quarterbacks entering the 2018 draft, Rosen is the one with the most natural God-given talent. In a certain way, he reminds me of Peyton Manning – just a guy who was born to be an NFL quarterback. This past season at UCLA, he completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,717 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He’s just a natural at the position, much like Justin Bieber is a natural at being an epic tool.
However, many football experts believe that Rosen will fall in the draft, meaning that, if Belichick is willing to most likely trade up a little bit more, he might be available for the Patriots to take (there have been a few reports that Rosen has peaked New England’s interest, and one mock draft I looked at even had him falling to the Patriots at No. 23). A few reasons why Rosen is expected to fall in the draft are because he’s had a history of concussions and shoulder injuries, he has a knack for speaking his mind, some people question whether or not he truly loves playing football, and there have been rumors that a number of his teammates at UCLA didn’t like playing with him. Rosen would come with his share of baggage, but if the Patriots found themselves with the opportunity to draft him in the mid-to-late first round, he would be pretty darn hard to pass up just because of his talent.
Chances are, however, that Rosen won’t fall all the way to the Pats at No. 23. If Belichick truly wanted him, he would most likely have to make a trade or two and move up further in the first round. I wouldn’t be outraged if he decided to go this route, but ultimately, it’s not in the best interest of the team. As gifted of a quarterback as Rosen is, there are other options that would probably be a better fit for the Patriots.
Finally, that brings me to Mason Rudolph, the 6-foot-5, 230 pounder from Oklahoma State. This is the guy that I would like to see Belichick draft. Just imagine watching the Patriots on Sunday Night Football…
“And now, let’s meet the offensive starters for the Patriots…”
“Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State.”
Has a nice ring, doesn’t it? He sounds like a New England Patriot already.
In all seriousness, Mason Rudolph seems like the type of quarterback that would best fit in with the Belichick system, and eventually, the McDaniels system. When watching a few of Rudolph’s highlight videos, he reminded me a bit of Brady, and even a little bit of Jimmy Garoppolo – Brady’s former heir apparent that got away. They all have a similar aura about them when they are dropping back and slinging passes downfield, and I’m 100 percent OK with drafting another version of Brady/Garoppolo.
Above everything else, though, I looked at Rudolph’s numbers. At Oklahoma State, he started the final three games of his freshman season, and then was named the starting QB during his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. Throughout his college career, Rudolph threw 92 touchdowns, opposed to just 26 interceptions. During his senior season in 2017, Rudolph came just 96 yards short of throwing for 5,000 passing yards.
And one final stat: during his career at Oklahoma State, Rudolph finished with an overall record of 32-10. Not too shabby.
Of course, I’m just one Patriots fan with an opinion, and many of you may disagree (which is totally fine). But Mason Rudolph is not only a gifted quarterback capable of putting up impressive numbers. He’s also a winner, and that’s the kind of guy I want to be the successor to Tom Brady.
I have no idea what kind of plan Belichick actually has up his sleeve for the draft on Thursday night, but until that plan is revealed, I’m going to be hoping for Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State. Regardless, I’m sure I’ll end up talking myself into whatever ends up happening. I always do.