By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
Ball security has been a point of emphasis for the New England Patriots over the years and their seventh round pick in Danny Etling out of Louisiana State University further demonstrates that focus.
Etling, who spent his first two years at Purdue University, before transferring to LSU after his sophomore year, will be coming to New England straight out of a Cam Cameron pro-style offense.
So in essence he should be coming into the first day of camp with at least a solid foundation and knowledge of what he’s expected to do in running a pro-style offense at the NFL level.
He shows good arm strength, while demonstrating some touch on the ball in his placement. And from the looks of it, he can navigate the pocket to buy some additional time or make the throw to the open guy down field.
During his time at LSU, Etling took great care of the football for the #18 Tigers as they went 9-4 (6-2), earning in spot in the Citrus Bowl on New Years Day.
His knack for protecting the football didn’t go unnoticed, especially in these parts, as the Patriots went onto draft Etling with the first pick of the seventh round (219) in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“You look at his career production and this guy didn’t turn the ball over. I think it was 16-2 this year, a low percentage. He takes care of the ball, smart, pretty accurate thrower,” said Director of Player Personnel for the Patriots, Nick Caserio, during a post-draft Patriots presser.
During his senior campaign, Etling finished with the third highest Passing Efficiency Rating (PER) in the SEC, while throwing for 2,463 yards, 16 touchdowns, two interceptions and one fumble. He finished the year completing 60 percent of his passes on 275 attempts in 13 games under center.
Whereas Tom Brady finished his senior year at the University of Michigan with 2,217 yards, 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. And during that 1999 season, Brady completed 61 percent of his 295 attempts for a 138 passer rating, while leading the Wolverines (9-2) to an Orange Bowl win over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
There shouldn’t be a lot of stock put into it, but both quarterbacks did post similar numbers during their senior campaigns and now look at what Brady has become.
Etling might not be the next Brady, but in all reality who is anyways?
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Caserio continues on about Etling saying, “here’s a guy, a Purdue transfer, went down to LSU and the thing about him – he played for Coach Cameron in kind of a pro-style offense. He had some experience. The one thing he didn’t do – he didn’t turn the ball over.”
It was confirmed by Caserio that the Patriots did indeed spend some time with Etling and Braxton Berrios as part of process before drafting them in the seventh and sixth rounds, respectively.
“There are some good qualities and traits that we think we can work with and develop. He played against good people on a weekly basis, kind of like we talked about with Sony [Michel] and Isaiah [Wynn]. That was the pick there.”
Etling will certainly be a “developmental”quarterback for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the Patriots.
So now he has some time to get acquainted with the NFL, the Pats and their playbook, along with learning the daily grind associated with trying to make it in an unforgiving league.
And it definitely doesn’t hurt to be the understudy of the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
Lets just hope that Brady is more receptive of Etling than he was of Jimmy Garoppolo.
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John Hardiman 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 John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.