By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
It's debatable whether the Patriots need to draft a quarterback this year. If Tom Brady does indeed play until he's 45, it's most likely going to be in New England. And that doesn't mean his successor has to spend four years behind him.
But that also shouldn't preclude Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio, and Josh McDaniels from doing their homework on the quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft class. The key to the Brady succession plan may be in there. If he isn't, it's important to make sure of it.
That's why the Pats have reportedly hosted at least four QBs on pre-draft visits in recent days. They recently hosted Duke's Daniel Jones and West Virginia's Will Grier. You can add Northwestern's Clayton Thorson and Auburn's Jarrett Stidham to the list, according to a new report by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
NFL.com projects both Stidham and Thorson as fourth-round picks at best. They're lacking in various physical traits and both are questionable in their ability to handle NFL pass-rushers, which drops them below the top prospects at the position.
But that doesn't mean that they couldn't eventually have success at the NFL level. The Pats shattered the mold 19 years ago today when they took Brady with the 199th pick. So pretty much anything is possible after that.
There's still no better place for a QB to learn the NFL game for a few years than New England. Bill Belichick's tutelage and Tom Brady's example will be a great environment no matter who they peg as the next starting QB. It's possible that Thorson or Stidham get their chance to develop into that role.
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 [email protected].