The New England Patriots selected LSU quarterback Danny Etling with the 219th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Etling was pretty low on most draft boards, but the Patriots wanted to secure Etling and now allow him to test free agency.
The 6’3, 222-pound Etling played in a run-first offense with LSU, with just 275 pass attempts in 2017. He completed 60.0% of them for 9.0 yards per attempt, along with 16 touchdowns and a mere 2 interceptions.
That was an improvement over his 2016 season, when Etling completed 59.5% of his passes for 7.9 yards per attempt, along with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Because LSU threw the football a lot less than most other schools, Etling’s name was never on the radar for a lot of scouts.
Etling started his college football career at Purdue, where he started in 2013. He started again in 2014, but lost his job and transferred to LSU where he had to sit out the 2015 season.
The Patriots love players from the SEC and I’m sure Bill Belichick appreciated the quality of defense that Etling faced every week. His two-year total of 325/544 (59.7%) for 4,586 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions is pretty respectable, too. When compared to other quarterbacks in the SEC, only Missouri’s Drew Lock has been more efficient.
The presence of Etling should not change the Patriots’ need for a long term heir to Tom Brady; Etling is a camp arm and a potential third quarterback that can develop in 2018. But the Patriots will still need to address the need for a quarterback in 2019.
The Patriots still have the 233rd and 243rd picks in the draft.