With the first wave of free agency in the rear-view mirror, the New England Patriots have an obvious need at the most important position in football: Tom Brady has decided to take his talents to Tampa Bay after serving as the starting quarterback in New England for the last two decades. With the six-time Super Bowl winner gone, his former team will have to find a replacement and it seems that there are only two realistic options left at the moment.
Either the Patriots turn to what they already have under contract, or to the draft.
When looking at New England’s current roster, one name stands out above the rest: Jarrett Stidham. The Auburn product was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round last year, and was able to beat out veteran Brian Hoyer for the backup job behind Brady in 2019. While he saw only limited playing time during his first regular season, his work during the summer and behind the scenes has apparently given the club confidence in his abilities to serve as QB1.
The second option New England has to address the position — without investing its already limited resources in a free agent or trade acquisition — is the draft, preferably early on to find a player potentially capable of taking over as the starter in Year One. One popular name to fall in this category is Utah State’s Jordan Love: ESPN’s Mel Kiper, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar and The Draft Network’s Joe Marino and Jordan Reid all have him going to the Patriots at No. 23 in their respective post-free agency mock drafts.
That said, not everybody thinks the Patriots should go this route no matter if Love or another one of the second-tier quarterbacks is available.
Those more closely invested in the Patriots, for example, are not in favor of the team going this route: the fans don’t want New England to draft a quarterback in the first round come April. According to SB Nation’s latest FanPulse numbers, only 39 percent of participants believe that Bill Belichick and company should select a passer with what would currently be the 23rd overall selection. 61 percent, on the other hand, are not in favor of this.
There are arguments to be made for both sides. That said, it would not be surprising if the Patriots opted to use their first-round pick to either trade down — they have a 63-pick gap between rounds one and three — or to address other positions of need such as the defensive front seven or wide receiver. Add the promise Stidham showed during his first few months in New England, and you can see why drafting a new quarterback in round one appears to be rather unlikely at the moment.
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