Following Tom Brady‘s decision to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, the New England Patriots now find themselves with journeyman Brian Hoyer and largely unproven second-year man Jarrett Stidham competing for the No. 1 spot at quarterback. However, there seems to be a very good chance the team will use the 2020 NFL Draft to find their quarterback of the future, as hinted by the latest update from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
In a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show (via Bleacher Report), Rapoport said that the Patriots are “very firmly in the quarterback mix” as they prepare for next week’s draft, though the fact that they will make their first pick at the No. 23 spot makes it hard to determine who they may be targeting. As further speculated, New England may have its eyes on Utah State standout Jordan Love and could potentially trade up for him if another team picks him in the “teens.”
Rapoport added that it’s also possible the Patriots will trade up to the second round and hope for a repeat of their success with Brady’s former backup Jimmy Garoppolo — who is now starring for the San Francisco 49ers — in the 2014 NFL Draft.
“They don’t have a second-rounder, so they either could trade back and create one maybe, or they could use some third and fourth and trade up in the first round,” he continued.
“… The Patriots are going to take a quarterback probably with a premium pick. I would just imagine it’s not at the pick they currently have. I see the Patriots moving up for a quarterback or sliding back and then maybe also taking a quarterback.”
After the Top 4 QBs are selected, where do the rest shake out? And could the #Patriots make a move for Eason, Fromm or Hurts?@nflnetwork @RapSheet shared what he's been hearing just 9 days before the #NFLDraft: pic.twitter.com/Z1wC4whKzH
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) April 14, 2020
Despite the Patriots’ apparent plans to upgrade their quarterback rotation in this year’s draft, reports have suggested that the team is quite high on Stidham, a fourth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft who posted solid numbers in preseason play last year. Rumors have also hinted at the organization’s lack of interest in signing former NFL MVP Cam Newton or trading for erstwhile Cincinnati Bengals starter Andy Dalton, even with their proven track records as veteran signal-callers.
In addition to Love, who is expected to be the first quarterback picked after Joe Burrow (LSU), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), and Justin Herbert (Oregon) go off the board, the Patriots have also been linked to a few other signal-callers in the lead-up to the 2020 draft. A recent article from Sporting News suggested that New England will most likely opt for Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts or Georgia’s Jake Fromm, both of whom are likely to be available in the third round.