Would The Patriots Select Manziel Or Bridgewater To Back-Up Brady?
NFL quarterback prospects Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville visited with the New England Patriots in Foxboro on Wednesday, according to ESPNBoston.com.
But why are the Patriots using two of their 30 private visits to meet with quarterback prospects? According to many mock drafts, neither of them are projected to make it past the first ten picks, let alone still be available at the 29th pick, where the Patriots currently sit. And why would the Patriots be interested in taking a quarterback in the first three rounds when they have greater needs at defensive line and safety? What is going on?
The answer: smokescreens and diversions.
No team knows for certain whether or not the Patriots will pick a quarterback in this year’s draft. The thought of this happening puts other teams into an interesting situation. If either prospect begins to fall in the draft, other teams might think they have to trade above or into the Patriots' spot to get the falling prospect.
As they have done in the past, the Pats could leverage their pick and trade back to accumulate more picks in a draft stacked with talent in the second and third rounds. This strategy costs the Patriots very litter, if anything. For example, they invited Tim Tebow out to dinner at a very public venue before the 2010 NFL Draft. Ultimately, he was selected by the Denver Broncos prior to the Patriots’ pick. If this had anything to do with the dinner-outing, we will never know. Ultimately, the Patriots nabbed Devin McCourty in the first round that year.
But, ultimately, New England could take one of the QBs, if one of them does make it that far without being draft. No one expected Geno Smith to fall out of the first round in last year’s draft. In 2007, even as a projected top-5 pick, Brady Quinn fell to the Cleveland Browns at 22. It would be similar to when the Green Bay Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers and sat him behind Brett Favre for a few seasons. Similarly, Bridgewater or Manziel would have the chance to develop behind aging QB Tom Brady.
Current backup, Ryan Mallett may be set to leave Foxboro when his contract ends after the 2014 season. With trade rumors being circulated involving the 6-foot-7 signal-caller, his demand might drive up his free agency value to a price that New England would not be willing to pay.
The rest of the league needs to continually watch what the organization is doing in New England. The Patriots are known for never being negligent — and more than anything, they hate being wrong. They would hate the idea of passing on Johnny Football or Teddy Bridgewater just to see them succeed somewhere else, primarily on another AFC team. To make matters worse, it is likely that Mallett might sign elsewhere in 2015. Realistically though, the hope is that these quarterbacks get selected before the Pats have their pick, allowing them to draft highly-rated players like tight end Jace Amaro or defensive lineman Louis Nix with the 29th pick.
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