E.J. Perry is trying to accomplish something few quarterbacks before him have done: get selected in the NFL Draft despite an Ivy League background. A transfer from Boston College, Perry spent the last two years starting at Brown and is now getting ready to take the next step in his career — and it is a big one.
In order to help him achieve that goal and become just the sixth Ivy League QB picked — and the first since Harvard’s Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2005 — Perry has recruited some prominent help. His uncle, former Houston Texans assistant coach John Perry, has been helping him build connections, while he also hooked up with former NFL quarterback and Boston College alumnus Matt Hasselbeck.
Also among those helping him get ready for the draft are New England Patriots quarterbacks Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham. The two have worked out alongside Perry in Foxborough this offseason, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
Both Jones and Stidham have already made the step from the college level to the NFL. Jones was selected 15th overall by the Patriots last year; the Alabama product seems poised to become the team’s franchise quarterback for years to come. Stidham, meanwhile, was selected in the fourth round out of Auburn in 2019.
The two passers working out with Perry should not be confused with New England being interested in drafting him, but the team bringing him in would make some sense.
Not only did Perry prove himself a pro-ready player at Brown and during the pre-draft cycle thus far, the Patriots have also never shied away from making investments at the most important position in the game. Even with Mac Jones under contract for at least three more seasons, and with backup Brian Hoyer having just been retained on a two-year deal, the club adding another passer this year would make sense.
Stidham, after all, is headed into the final year of his rookie deal. The 25-year-old, who served as New England’s third-string QB last season and has struggled whenever seeing extended action, is also a candidate to be either released or traded.
Hoyer, on the other hand, will turn 37 in October. The end of his career is obviously closer than its beginning, which might prompt the Patriots to add another young backup to the equation.
Perry would be just that, even though he is a bit undersized: he measured under 6-foot-2 at the Scouting Combine and has only 8 3/4-inch hands. That said, his athleticism is impressive and might prompt a team to invest a late-round selection in him next month.
Could it be the Patriots? Perry should not necessarily count on it, but stranger things have happened. And if they do decide to bring him aboard, he would already have built some first connections within the quarterback room.