New England Patriots

The Patriots need to begin searching for Tom Brady’s successor sooner rather than later. That doesn’t mean they’ll find that guy in the 2018 NFL Draft. But there’s a chance they could take a chance on someone they see value in, much like they did with Brady 18 years ago.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss mused about the idea of the Patriots targeting a “developmental” quarterback in April’s NFL Draft in a conversation with the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, which he detailed in a new column on Tuesday. And considering Reiss’ high-level connections within the Patriots organization, the team’s interest in drafting a signal-caller who falls outside of the first two rounds could be real.

Among the names mentioned in Reiss’ column are Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State, Luke Falk of Washington State, and Mike White of Western Kentucky. But the name that has garnered the most buzz for a potential Patriots pick is Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta, who lit it up in this year’s Senior Bowl.

Kyle Lauletta of the South team throws during the Senior Bowl against the the North team on January 27, 2018. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Kyle Lauletta of the South team throws during the Senior Bowl against the the North team on January 27, 2018. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Thoughts & Reactions

Lauletta’s father went to Navy and he also played lacrosse. So those are your two completely non-football reasons why so many theories have emerged that he is Belichick’s pick. But hopefully, if the Patriots do draft him, it would be for actual football reasons.

The idea that the Patriots would spend a mid-round pick on a developmental quarterback is undesirable. Tom Brady ought to be believed at this point that he will play five more years, even if he drops off physically at some point in that span. He’s certainly going to play all next season, anyway. So there’s not much of a need to draft another quarterback now, unless they feel they have definitively pinpointed Brady’s sure successor.

Considering the Patriots’ many other needs – even on offense, where they could need a tackle or tight end or running back – they should be more worried about adding to the defense in the 2018 draft. They got torched on that side of the ball in the Super Bowl and have clear front-seven needs, especially at linebacker.

If they end up drafting a quarterback this year, that guy better be prepared (mentally, anyway) to stick around for five years before he starts. And the Pats better have another plan to improve the defense as well. Because the next QB they draft is not likely to help them in any fashion for the next handful of seasons.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.