If Tom Brady leaves the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick will have a huge hole to fill at quarterback.
While the Patriots have been linked to NFL quarterbacks like the Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton, and San Francisco 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo, there hasn't been too much discussion on the possibility that Belichick snags a top-notch quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft.
On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, Inside the Pylon's Mark Schofield joined Phil Perry to discuss the possibility New England moves up in the draft to take Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon's Justin Herbert as their next QB.
Schofield believes that one of those two options would be the better choice, and a better fit, for Belichick's offensive system.
It's a tough question, and if so much of it will be determined in what we don't see, you know, all behind closed doors, that medical evaluation for Tua [Tagovailoa]. We see him walking around, we're trying to see if that limp is still there. It's a big question that he has to answer.
I think as a player between the lines, when you're just evaluated on film, there are still questions he has to answer. One is, he can run almost any NFL offense, he has a tremendous arm talent. I think he can survive in a vertical based passing system -- we know that's not New England, they obviously do a lot more of getting the ball out quickly, throwing those little seam routes, those option routes, those slant routes... which is something he was doing a ton of and is something he can do really well. I have no questions that he can run New England's offense effectively. He's also throwing to guys that are all going to be first-round picks. He's thrown to a lot of guys that are wide open. He's not challenged in a ton of narrow throwing windows. So those are questions he's going to have to answer.
Herbert is a very different player, and while he had some ups and downs at Oregon, could he be the next big thing in New England? Schofield isn't convinced.
With Justin Herbert, you're seeing a guy that does attack the middle of the field from time to time, doesn't do it a ton -- runs a very different offense -- a lot of smoke routes, a lot of go routes, a lot of stuff around the boundary, and when you watch him on film there's something for everybody. There are games where you see it clicks and he's a first-round guy, and there are games when it doesn't and you're wondering if he's getting his name called on day two.
So, two very different quarterbacks. Herbert, down in Mobile, showed he can run a pro-style offense in that Cincy system, but I think if you're confident in the medicals and those are the two guys you're going between, I think you take Tua, even though he does have these questions. I think he would fit better in what New England wants to do schematically with getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands. Even though he's played with some great talent, hasn't had to challenge a ton of throwing windows, I think his playstyle fits with New England and what they do schematically.
Schofield made some tremendous points about both young quarterbacks, and Perry also put in his input on the two -- noting Belichick goes for a very specific style quarterback.
I really hadn't heard that. And when I say I hadn't heard that, I hadn't heard the Tua fit in the Patriots offense and you just think about reading, diagnosing, getting the ball out of your hands, he can do that, because physically Bill Belichick has never drafted a lefty quarterback. He typically drafts big-armed, huge hands types of guys... And that would be Herbert with that big arm that would play in the New England weather. If that's the choice, then okay, who's going to actually run our offense better, or who's going to be able to cut through the wind going towards the lighthouse in December? I guess, if I'm looking at it, I would say you probably want the guy that runs the offense and can play all 16 games well as opposed to maybe just a handful.
Obviously Tagovailoa could go as high as the second overall pick, but if he slips, Belichick may be after him. It seems, though, that it's going to come down to health and who the Patriots head coach values more in his system.
To hear more about the possibility New England moves up in the draft, which players are on the rise after the NFL Combine, and which other QBs would be a good fit for the Patriots, be sure to check out this week's episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.