I have flipped my flop.
Up until this week, I was of the mind that you stick with Jarrett Stidham and build around him with the draft.
Why have I changed my mind? Because, I don’t want the Patriots to become the forever five-hundreds (no disrespect to the Whale of Hartford ... OK, maybe a little).
First of all, we need to stop with this revisionist history that the Patriot dynasty was a result of player depth and player value. No, it was not. It was built on Tom Brady, period.
End of story.
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Because Brady was the 199th selection we have the idea that you can build a contender with quarterbacks drafted outside of the top rounds. Brady’s career was the immaculate accession and we are fools to base the future of the Patriots on it. Moses only parted the Red Sea once.
When Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe in 2001, that roster had plenty of proven players that had been brought in by the Bill Parcells regime (which Bill Belichick was a part of). Players like Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy. And oh yeah, Adam Vinatieri. We all know his deal.
This group enabled Brady to grow into the position and become the greatest of all time. Of course, he became the greatest of all time, not because of those players mentioned but because of him, because he was (is) Tom Brady. (For the purposes of this article talent shall include both physical and mental ability. It will save me time and words.)
Despite John Madden’s insistence the Pats play for OT in Super Bowl 36, the Patriots elected not to and put the ball in the hands of Brady. From his own 17-yard line, Brady went 5-7 in 1:21 and at that very moment became the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. From that point on Tom Brady was the most important player on the Patriots roster for the next 19 years.
So, yes, the Pats need to improve in other areas but those moves will be moot if the right quarterback, I mean a star quarterback, is not under center. Do not give me this game manager crap ... we all know it takes so much more than that.
My examples? Tannehill and Jimmy G. in the playoffs.
Say Stid the Kid is Bill’s pick to click; a fourth-rounder selected 133rd overall. Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins are the most successful recent fourth-round quarterbacks. No thanks! Cousins does not want to play in front of fans because it’s too stressful and Dak is grossly overpaid. Eh, so is Cousins. These guys are good, but not great.
Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, and Matthew Stafford are all first-rounders. Let’s go old school with Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, John Elway, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Drew Brees. (He was taken 32nd overall. First in the second. Close enough.)
My point is, yes, you need depth and talent on both lines, at receiver, tight end, linebacker and in the secondary, but it all starts with the quarterback, not the other way around. It happened before our very eyes, but because Brady never referred to himself in the third person, was more concerned with Super Bowls than Pro Bowls and took the home-town discount (until now), we viewed it as the other way around.
Bill, if you can get a quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa in the first round you go do it and then you build around him. Stick with Stid and you might end up with Kirk Cousins, if you’re lucky.