FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) With Tom Brady set to turn 37 in August, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said his team got a bit of a jump on the future by taking quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night.
"The situation at quarterback I think we felt as an organization that we needed to address that to some degree in the future, so we'll see how that works out," Belichick said after making the Eastern Illinois product the 62nd pick of the draft. "We feel like being early rather than late at that position."
Brady has shown no signs of retirement and is signed through 2017. Backup Ryan Mallett, the subject of trade rumors this week, has a year left on his contract - so New England figured this was a good time to add Garoppolo to the mix.
"He's got a lot of qualities that we admire in a quarterback," Belichick said. "He's been a very productive player - it's been at a different level of competition (the FCS) but hopefully he can make that adjustment."
The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Garoppolo, who started 45 straight games in college, threw for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns while being intercepted nine times in 2013. He also ran for four touchdowns and was the winner of the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the top player in FCS.
Garoppolo, who was in New York for the draft, said Brady is his favorite player and added he can't wait to meet him. But barring an injury to Brady, Garoppolo will be watching an awful lot of football from the sidelines over the next four years.
And he seems fine with that.
"I feel good about it," he said. "It's one of those things. Whether I was coming in as the starter or as the backup, I'm going to go in and approach it the same way.
"My mindset is the same as it would be if I was going in as a starter. I'm going to go out there and try to get better each and every day."
He said going to New England "fits me very well. They're a very blue- collar organization. It seemed like all business (when he visited) and they get to work. That's what I'm excited about.
"I'm one of those guys. I'm a blue-collar guy and I go to work every day."
As it turned out, Garoppolo was the only New England pick on Day 2. Later, New England traded out of the third round, shipping the 93rd pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for the 105th and 179th selections on Saturday.
The trade left the Patriots with three fourth- and three sixth-round picks. They don't have a fifth-rounder and have one pick in the seventh.
The 105th pick is the fifth of the fourth round, while No. 179 is the third selection of the sixth round.