It seems entirely plausible if not likely that the New England Patriots will take a quarterback at some point in the NFL Draft, but could they do it in the very first round?
One rival general manager told Peter King of Football Morning in America that the Patriots “love” Justin Herbert. It’s not clear, however, that they would be willing to trade up to get him, which they would likely have to do. Due to a lack of early picks in 2020, trading up for Herbert would likely cost New England a 2021 first-round selection at the very least.
The Patriots usually trade down in the draft, not up. They appear to have a fair amount of confidence in Jarrett Stidham as well. Even if the Patriots are infatuated with Herbert, this just doesn’t seem like a likely scenario.
The New England Patriots are eyeing rookie kicker prospects, and one of the players they may check out has a very familiar last name.
With the Patriots having released Stephen Gostkowski earlier in the offseason, they are scouting rookie kickers aggressively. ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes Chase Vinatieri, the nephew of longtime Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, might be one of the prospects that they scout.
Chase Vinatieri is a kicker from South Dakota State. He has worked with kicking coach Mike McCabe, who has some ties to the Patriots through his work with former New England punter Ryan Allen.
“From watching the draft the last few years, maybe one, two or three kickers get drafted, and so realistically, it’s more likely I’ll be an undrafted free agent,” Chase Vinatieri told Reiss. “I’m definitely OK if that’s what it is. I’m just looking for a team to give me an opportunity.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay lists Vinatieri as the fifth best kicker in the draft. It would be a very intriguing story, as his uncle is a future Hall of Famer and a key part of Patriots’ history.
Jordan Love is one of the more intriguing quarterback names in the NFL Draft, and it sounds like there is widespread interest in him as a potential first-round pick.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, at least six teams are at least somewhat looking into Love. That includes the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers, as well as possibly quarterback-needy teams such as the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, and Washington Redskins.
Texas Tech coach Matt Wells, who coached Love at Utah State, said he has spoken to seven NFL head coaches this past week about the quarterback.
Tom Brady made a number of interesting revelations during his interview with Howard Stern on Wednesday, and one of them was that he knew before the start of the 2019 season that he was likely entering his final year with the New England Patriots. Apparently the team found out much later.
Brady visited Robert Kraft at the Patriots owner’s home the night before Brady announced on Instagram that he is leaving the team. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Patriots felt right up until that day that they had a chance to re-sign the four-time Super Bowl MVP.
“Based on the people I’ve spoken with, they were still holding out hope that Brady would say to them, ‘Yes, I want to stay in New England’ and engage in some sort of contract discussions — anything to give them an inkling that he still wanted to be there,” Rapoport said. “That’s what they were waiting for.”
Not long after Brady announced his decision, Rapoport reported that the 42-year-old wanted to leave and that the Patriots would have been willing to match the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offer. While the former may be true, the latter seems highly unlikely. Bill Belichick has been taking it year-to-year with Brady for two years now, so it would make no sense for the coach to give Brady a two-year, fully guaranteed deal when the quarterback was coming off a down year and will turn 43 in August.
Tom Brady has expressed excitement for the next chapter of his career in a number of different ways since he announced he is signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the six-time Super Bowl champion wants fans in New England to know they will always have a special place in his heart.
Brady penned a piece for The Players’ Tribune in which he wrote at length about how New England became his home but how excited he is to lead a new team. Not long after the piece was published on Monday, he thanked Patriots fans on social media and shared an emotional video.
There’s no reason Brady would ever hold any ill will toward Patriots fans. He will always be a legend in the New England area, and fans treated him like royalty for the better part of two decades. It’s possible Brady’s relationship with Bill Belichick got to a point where a divorce was necessary, but that has nothing to do with Pats fans.
Jarrett Stidham appears to have the inside track on landing the starting quarterback job with the New England Patriots, but one top draft analyst who was high on the former Auburn star coming out of college does not believe Stidham is ready for the spotlight just yet.
ESPN’s Todd McShay said on “Get Up!” Monday morning that Stidham needs more time to develop before he can be a viable starter in the NFL. The draft expert said he considered Stidham a “great backup” coming out of Auburn but does not feel he is ready to run an offense.
“From everyone I talk to in the organization, they are excited about his development,” McShay said, as transcribed by Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. “He has so much potential. He is gifted. He’s been through a lot in his life. He’s got some character and some grittiness and some toughness to him. But, he’s not ready yet. That is the bottom line. He’s not ready to lead the New England Patriots, in my opinion.”
McShay recalled how Stidham threw a pick-six in a game where the Patriots were blowing out the New York Jets last season, and Bill Belichick sent the rookie a message by immediately pulling him and putting Tom Brady back in the game. McShay believes it is still possible that Belichick will bring in a veteran like Andy Dalton.
“Brian Hoyer is there and he’s a really good backup, but they are going to have to make a decision on what to do in terms of is it bringing in a veteran like Andy Dalton to kind of send the tide between now and when Stidham is ready, or is it drafting another quarterback that they think can bring competition and potentially out play Stidham at that No. 1 position,” he said. “It is going to be really interesting to see how it all plays out.”
The Patriots have barely any salary cap space, which would make it difficult to bring in a veteran like Dalton. Several of Stidham’s current teammates have expressed confidence in the second-year quarterback, but it would not be a surprise if New England expected him to ride the bench for another year or two. Signs have pointed to the Pats holding an open competition at the position, though they would obviously prefer if their 2019 fourth-round pick did enough to win the job.
The New England Patriots are often regarded as being ahead of the curve in the NFL Draft, so one potential quarterback target could raise some eyebrows.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots had a video meeting with Florida International quarterback James Morgan. Morgan is an intriguing name who did well in the Shrine Game and idolizes Brett Favre, but is not ranked particularly highly in most pre-draft assessments.
Between Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots have done well with quarterbacks later in the draft. Morgan is certainly not their only option, but it’s interesting to see his name linked.
We do know that the Patriots are almost certain to draft a quarterback after surprisingly releasing Cody Kessler. That quarterback is unlikely to start, but given the team’s history at the position, their draft assessments are well worth watching.