QBs’ Visits May Have No Meaning for Patriots
Several media outlets, specifically Field Yates of ESPN Boston, have detailed that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will visit the New England Patriots prior to the 2014 NFL Draft.
Both players are scheduled to make their way to Gillette Stadium today, and based on Tom Brady‘s age (he’s turning 37 in August) and the fact that a youth movement is inevitable for the Pats at some point in the near future, many will jump to the conclusion that the Patriots are actively looking to draft one of these signal callers.
After all, New England is using two of their 30 pre-draft visits on these players, so why would they not be thinking of taking Manziel or Bridgewater in the early rounds?
Well, despite holding sub-par pro days, the two college seniors aren’t guaranteed to fall down to the Pats’ 29th pick in the first round because picking of quarterbacks can often be unpredictable, especially in the midst of the opening draft scramble.
The Patriots have re-structured Vince Wilfork’s contract , so the defensive tackle spot does becomes less of an pressing issue.
However, Wilfork is 32 years old; he’s coming off a season-ending torn Achilles injury. You can’t necessarily expect him to act as the same quality run-stopper for several more seasons, and the Patriots necessitate depth at the defensive line spot immediately.
In the draft, there is a lack of consistent D-tackle talent but also a promising stud in Louis Nix, so the Patriots could end up making a hard push for an interior defensive lineman. A young big man fresh out of college could definitely benefit from the leadership and know-how of veterans like Wilfork and Tommy Kelly.
Tight end is another position that the Patriots may be looking to strengthen for next year, bearing in mind the questionable durability of Rob Gronkowski and the playmaking prospects available–Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas and North Carolina’s Eric Ebron to name a couple.
Consequently, considering the foremost needs of the Patriots, drafting a top quarterback appears unlikely while certain teams may require a gunslinger for the survival of their franchise.
But hey, who knows what the Pats’ front office is thinking, as Brady and his squad gears up for testing the 2015 Super Bowl waters.
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