Patriots 'most interested' in this college QB to replace Tom Brady - report
The New England Patriots are the one team “most interested” in drafting former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson to eventually replace Tom Brady, according to Bleacher Report‘s Mike Freeman. The Patriots reportedly love Jackson’s “intelligence and football acumen.”
It could be a bold move and a very different look for the Patriots.
With the glaring exception of his rookie year and an injury-shortened 2008 season, Patriots fans have been fortunate enough to have Brady leading the team to unprecedented success for the last 16 years.
Brady is also very much closer to the end of his illustrious career than the beginning.
At the ripe sports age of 40, Brady hasn’t diminished too much on the football field, but it’s widely accepted that the end is nigh for the five-time Super Bowl champion.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, circumstances forced the team to trade away Jimmy Garoppolo, who was being groomed as Brady’s heir apparent. Based on Garoppolo’s success with the San Francisco 49ers, it’s evident that the Patriots’ grooming worked. New England just isn’t enjoying the fruits of its labors.
That left the Patriots in a rather untenable position.
On the one hand, despite the fact that he’ll turn 41 in August, Brady is very much capable of being a starting quarterback on a Super Bowl-winning team. What little drop-off Brady has experienced has been negligible thus far.
That being said, while Brady is still able to spearhead a Super Bowl contender, other parts of the Patriots roster offer no such luxury. Brady’s top two receivers, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, are returning from a yearlong knee injury or considering retirement, respectively. Brady also lost his second-leading receiver and starting left tackle from last season. And the team’s defense was frankly atrocious last year. New England was able to put up decent defensive stats, but much of their success came against sub-par quarterbacks.
As is clearly evident, the Patriots could use their two first-round and two second-round picks in the 2018 NFL draft to plug quite a few holes and build a winning framework around Brady.
On the other hand, Brady’s career can’t possibly go on much longer, and he’s reaching uncharted territory by trying to be an effective quarterback into his 40’s.
If time and attrition finally caught up with Brady, the Patriots would be in dire straits. All of the other holes on the roster would only be amplified and exacerbated with a bad quarterback under center.
Drafting a quarterback with Jackson’s credentials could ease the sting of losing Garoppolo and offer much-needed insurance in case Brady gets hurt or retires.
While head coach Bill Belichick should have no problem molding a new offense around Jackson, it would still be a stark departure from the current Patriots norm.
Brady has been the epitome of a classic pocket quarterback. Jackson is very much a dual threat with the ability to throw and run. Remember, Brady’s career high in rushing for an entire season is 110 yards. Jackson can hit that number in a quarter of a game. It would undoubtedly be an adjustment for the Patriots, but one that the organization should be able to handle.
The NFL draft begins April 26 and will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
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