When Josh McDaniels had a late change of heart and elected to stay with the Patriots as their offensive coordinator instead of taking the head coaching position in Indianapolis, it signaled a proverbial “changing of the guard.” While some sources claim that McDaniels wasn’t promised to succeed Bill Belichick, I’m not buying that notion. McDaniels already had a rough stint in Denver as their HC, so spurning Indianapolis at the last second all but guarantees he won’t get another shot with another franchise. So he wouldn’t have agreed to stay unless he knew he would inherit the Patriots.
With McDaniels in place as their HC of the future, the Patriots have to address the other franchise legend on his way out in Tom Brady. My guess would be that another part of the deal would be that New England will select their QB heir apparent in the draft, it’s also reasonable to assume that McDaniels will have significant input on who they choose. This would allow McDaniels to have “his guy” to work with and also learn from arguably the best QB of all time in Brady. Setting New England up to continue their run of AFC dominance.
Based off of what we know about McDaniels’ history with quarterbacks and the type of offense he likes to run, I’ve put together a list of quarterbacks that may interest him while also being available when New England selects in the draft. McDaniels likes to employ multiple offensive packages, mostly relying on quick passes and spreading defenses out. He’s also a fan of QB’s with prototypical size, Brady (6’4 225) Garoppolo (6’2 225) Tebow (6’3 245) and Brissett (6’4 235).
New England has enough picks to package and make a play for one of the top QBs, but they have far too many holes to fill, especially on defense. Luckily for them, this draft is extremely deep at the quarterback position. Look for them to address QB with one of their two 2nd rounders (43rd and 63rd) or their 3rd rounder (95th). Keep an eye on the following who should be available to them.
Kyle Lauletta, Richmond: While he’s a small school player, Lauletta really impressed during the senior bowl by throwing for 3 touchdowns to help lead the South squad to a victory. He’s got the size, standing at 6’3 and 215 pounds, while also owning a quick release and good accuracy (64.9% completion senior year). Teammates have raved over his leadership qualities, he’s still raw but has a high ceiling. New England is rumored to have spent a substantial amount of time with him in Mobile.
Mike White, WKU: Outside of Lauletta nobody did more for their stock at the Senior Bowl than White did. White was a two time 2nd team All-Conference USA selection, throwing for over 8,500 yards and 63 touchdowns during his two years as a starter. There’s a lot to like here with his 6’4, 225 pound frame and his huge arm (he was a promising pitcher who threw over 90 MPH in high school) White is widely considered to have the strongest arm in the draft outside of Josh Allen. Many will point to his struggles in the pocket and turn overs during his senior year, but those aren’t all his fault. He lost his tackle in Forrest Lamp to the NFL, along with his number one weapon in Taywan Taylor.
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State: Rudolph is the biggest of the bunch standing at 6’5, 230 pounds. He’s also arguably the most successful of everyone on this list, he led the FBS with 377 yards passing per game, ending the year with 4,804 yards on a 65% completion percentage along with a 37/9 TD/INT ratio. He has good pocket presence and allows routes time to develop downfield, but his footwork can get sloppy and can cause his passes to sail. Learning behind Brady would certainly help correct his footwork issues.
Luke Falk, Washington State: Falk is another player who’s had tremendous success in college, as he’s leaving WSU as the all-time leader in the Pac-12 in both passing yards and touchdowns. He also possesses good size (6’4, 223). He has a compact throwing motion to go along with a quick release. He’s also displayed good touch on deep balls. The biggest concern about his game is that he’s unbelievably slow, his coach even said that their left tackle could beat him in a foot race. So a tall guy who can make accurate throws quickly, who lacks any speed… Does that remind you of anyone else?
Regardless of what direction they choose to go in, count on them landing in the best possible position and receiving the best possible tutelage. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if their choice ended up being the most successful in the class. They have a penchant for scouting and getting the most out of their talent. Just look at how well Garoppolo has played after working with Brady and McDaniels. Unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, the Patriots look to have a plan to stay on top for years to come A.B. (After Brady/Belichick depending on who you value more)