The Patriots don't need to draft a quarterback

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The Patriots don't need to draft a quarterback

The Patriots' No. 1 priority as it relates to player personnel should be cultivating a stable longterm future at quarterback. Nobody should feel otherwise. 

Yet it's in thinking that where people may fall into an understandable, albeit not necessarily correct line of thinking: That the Patriots need to draft a quarterback this year.

They don't.


In fact, I'd go as far as to say that unless there's a guy available to them they absolutely love and [every general manager in the history of the world voice] never thought would be there, they shouldn't take a quarterback in the early rounds this year. 

The reasons to go for a QB in this draft are clear: Tom Brady is old as hell and this quarterback class is considered strong, with Sports Illustrated putting five signal-callers in its top 30 players this year. Here are the reasons not to go for one. 


Could have also called this one "They have other needs." New England has 2 of the first 42 picks and 3 of the first 63 this year (Nos. 31, 42 and 63). The Pats certainly need some young talent in the front seven and could stand to look into a replacement for Malcolm Butler. That's without the potential crisis on the offensive line that could arise should Nate Solder retire or cash in elsewhere.  


The Patriots' biggest mistake with Jimmy Garoppolo (other than trading him for an autographed picture of Jimmy Garoppolo) was not taking him in the first round. By taking him in the second round instead of the first, the Pats locked themselves into his rookie contract being four years and not a potential five. Hindsight's 20-20, but if the Pats took Jimmy G at No. 29 in 2014 instead of the since-released Dominique Easley, they might have had another year to figure out a way to make him Brady's successor. 

Say Brady's going to play at least another two seasons, which is a safe assumption. If you take the next guy after the first round, you've got to pay him pretty early on in his tenure as starter. That's not a major problem, but it's worth keeping in mind. 

If the Patriots want to make sure they have the next guy for a little longer by taking a QB in the first round, they might be forced into two suboptimal situations: Trade up (thus spending assets they might have otherwise used on the team's more immediate needs) or reach for a player at the end of the first. They shouldn't do either.


If the team envisions itself trying to bring in a top quarterback prospect, they might execute a trick they used in 2003 and 2007: Trade a first-round pick for a future first in hopes of getting an overall higher selection. 

If the Pats trade the 31st pick for a mediocre team's pick next year -- a scenario that might not necessarily present itself, but definitely did with the 49ers back in the day -- they could use their second-round picks for defensive help while positioning themselves to have two first-rounders next season. At the very least, they could package those picks if there's a guy they like in 2019, or maybe they could just take a guy in that first round without having to move up at all. 

Putting off drafting the next guy would certainly mean the player would have less time in the team's system. But if we're talking about getting a real top prospect type of player, it's worth keeping in mind that this isn't 1994. Rookie quarterbacks start all the time, and the good ones even have success.

The Patriots aren't aren't as bad at drafting quarterbacks as their reputation might suggest. Of the QBs they've drafted in the first three rounds under Bill Belichick -- Kevin O'Connell, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett -- only the O'Connell was inexcusable. Mallett was a risk they could afford to take, Garoppolo was a stud and Brissett might prove to be better than they even believed. 

So do the Patriots need to find their quarterback of the future? Of course. They just don't need to do it this offseason. 


What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...