The New England Patriots have a vote of confidence in Jarrett Stidham under center for 2020, but what if a notable quarterback falls to No. 23 overall in the NFL Draft? Should head coach Bill Belichick pounce?
We’re trying to get into the mind of what New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will do with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After losing quarterback Tom Brady in free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there appear to be three possible options for Belichick and Co. this upcoming season:
- Go with the journeyman veteran, Brian Hoyer
- Give the reins to second-year pro Jarrett Stidham
- Grab a quarterback in the NFL Draft and push him to start
Either of the first two options could happen with the third. But the apparent preferable choice points to Stidham, New England’s fourth-round draft choice from a year ago, being the guy under center this season.
It’s impossible to wholly and accurately predict how the upcoming NFL Draft will pan out. But for argument’s sake, what happens if a well-regarded quarterback winds up slipping all the way down to the Patriots’ first pick in Round 1?
This kind of thing has happened before.
In 2005, Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers was a candidate to be selected No. 1 overall by the San Francisco 49ers, who ultimately decided to go with Utah’s Alex Smith instead. Rodgers fell all the way to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24 overall, and the rest is history.
Then, in 2018, the Baltimore Ravens traded back into Round 1 to grab Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, who slipped all the way to No. 32 overall.
Granted, there could easily be a run on quarterbacks early in the first round, and Belichick won’t necessarily adjust his big board because of it, rather the most likely scenario being the head coach lets the draft come to him.
As far as those top quarterbacking prospects go, LSU’s Joe Burrow, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love all appear to be projected as first-round targets. Burrow is likely to be the No. 1 overall pick, selected by the Cincinnati Bengals, so it’s wise to cross his name off the list.
Yet what happens if a player like Herbert and/or Love finds himself still available at No. 23?
This is the conundrum, and it’s probable Belichick has already game planned for this kind of scenario. It could be, even if a quarterback winds up being available, Belichick’s choice is already made. Perhaps Stidham remains the de facto starter anyway, at least affording the Patriots a chance to see what they have already on the roster instead of tossing themselves into the mix of other teams scrambling for a quarterback.
Many mock drafts out there seem to be a mixed bag in this regard, as some give the Pats a quarterback, while others target other notable areas of need.
In that vein, it makes for a good discussion piece. And it opens up a great deal of speculation, too.
The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 23.