With the league’s reigning MVP at the helm and signed to a long-term deal, it’s highly unlikely the Patriots address the quarterback position early in the draft.
Backup Brian Hoyer seems to be generating trade interest, so if he’s shipped out, it would make sense to draft a developmental player for life after Brady.
While I don’t expect the Pats to target any of the first-round quarterbacks, here are some mid- to late-round options that could be on their radar.
1. Andy Dalton, TCU: The former Horned Frog is gaining steam as a high second-round pick. He possesses prototypical size at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and is a proven winner. He also completed over 61 percent of his passes the last two years and threw 71 touchdowns to only 30 interceptions. His accuracy and low turnover ratio would seem to make him an ideal quarterback in the Patriots’ system. I don’t see the Pats pulling the trigger as quarterback is low on their list of needs, but he’d be a nice value in the second round.
2. Greg McElroy, Alabama: When it comes to winning, few college quarterbacks can match McElroy’s resume. The former Crimson Tide starter never lost a game in high school and led Alabama to the 2009 national championship. While he doesn’t have great athletic ability, he is extremely intelligent and accurate. He increased his completion percentage from 60.9 to 70.9 as a senior, and threw 39 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions during his career. His lack of elite arm strength and physical attributes will cause him to go later in the draft, but he’d be an excellent backup with potential spot-start ability.
3. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa: Touted as a second- or third-round prospect, Stanzi’s stock has taken a bit of a dip in the offseason. However, he still is a solid prospect who would be a good value later in the draft. He has three years of starting experience, has good size (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) and had a great senior season, throwing for 25 touchdowns and 3,004 yards. As a junior, he threw 15 interceptions and completed only 56 percent of his passes which aren’t impressive. Could be an option in the fourth round.
4. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin: Playing in a run-based offense, Tolzien still put together two solid seasons as a starter for the Badgers. The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder completed nearly 73 percent of his passes as a senior and had a touchdown/interception ratio of 16:6. He has decent mobility and pocket awareness, but below average arm strength which limits his ability to stretch the field. Would be a late-round option.
5. Taylor Potts, Texas Tech: Playing in one of the most quarterback-friendly systems around, Potts continued the Red Raiders’ tradition of putting up monster numbers. In two seasons as a starter, Potts threw for 7,126 yards, 57 touchdowns and 23 interceptions while completing about 66 percent of his passes. While past Red Raiders quarterbacks haven’t translated well to the NFL, Potts has some physical tools that may allow him to be successful. He stands 6-foot-4, 218 pounds and does a decent job of finding his secondary options. However, he doesn’t have tremendous accuracy or arm strength and isn’t great moving in the pocket. Would be a late-round option at best.