New England Patriots 2016 NFL Draft Review, Grades
By Hal Bent
Third Round: 91st overall pick
QB Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State
Bill Belichick looked at the 2015 Denver Broncos and their quarterback situation and knew that somewhere in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft the Patriots were taking a quarterback. Aging future Hall of Fame quarterback and second round draft pick backup? Yes, that is the same situation in New England in 2016. While Denver lost both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler to retirement and free agency respectively and were left with Mark Sanchez (yuck!) and a rookie who has little experience outside of a spread offense. This will not happen on Belichick’s watch.
New England went back to North Carolina State to grab the big and athletic quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett signals the grudging acknowledgement by Belichick that the ageless Tom Brady may outlast the contract of Jimmy Garoppolo in New England. The drafting of Brissett allows the Patriots the flexibility to trade Garoppolo before his contract ends for whatever draft compensation they can get back.
Belichick’s plan is likely to have Brissett receive a year in the offensive system as the third quarterback before being moving up to become the primary backup to Tom Brady when Garoppolo is moved. Brissett will have to get up to speed in a hurry to serve as the primary backup at quarterback to Garoppolo if Brady has to serve his ridiculous four game “Deflategate” suspension.
Immediate reaction to Patriots selecting Jacoby Brissett
Brissett will force the Patriots to carry three quarterbacks after Brady returns from suspension (provided he cannot get a stay pending appeal) or all season if Brady is able to play. Initial tape study shows that Brissett lacks some polish at the position and he has struggled with accuracy and while under pressure. Those types of struggles will be magnified for a young quarterback in the NFL.
Brissett has NFL size but per ProFootballFocus.com his accuracy percentage of 71.3 percent ranked 22nd in the class and his +10.1 overall grade ranked 24th among quarterbacks in the draft. At six-foot-four and 231 pounds Brissett has the size to stay in the pocket and understands how to use touch on his passes rather than making the mistake most big arm quarterbacks make of trying to throw every pass hard.
Like any rookie in the NFL, Brissett has to work on pre-snap reads and learning the offensive system. Brissett needs time to develop and the Patriots have him as a long-term project at quarterback. Brissett began his college career with former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and has been mentored by Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells since high school.
With that kind of pedigree, it makes sense that Brissett was on the draft board in New England and valued higher than other teams may have had him. This pick is likely falling to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to salvage as a future NFL quarterback.
Brissett is not a quarterback who can step in and start in year one or even year two in the NFL. However, his size, athleticism, pedigree and intelligence makes him a possible fit in the New England offense. He is raw and needs work, but could be a selection that pays off in the future.
Next: DT Vincent Valentine, Nebraska