Let’s remember a simpler time: Thursday afternoon, when people really believed the New England Patriots were going to go all-in on their quarterback of the future.
For weeks, people speculated that the Patriots would trade a ton of picks to move up to draft a quarterback, which isn’t something that sounds like it fits New England’s philosophy. Then there was scuttlebutt that the Patriots loved Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Patriots made two first-round picks Thursday night, and passed twice on Jackson.
The Patriots did draft a quarterback, but not with the hullaballoo that was breathlessly talked about before the draft. It came with the first pick of the seventh round, when the Patriots selected LSU quarterback Danny Etling.
Etling isn’t going to be causing people to wonder if Tom Brady’s retirement is imminent. Etling started his college career at Purdue, transferred to LSU and had two decent seasons there. He ended up with 4,586 yards in 24 games, with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes with LSU.
If you knew much about Etling as a draft prospect, you’re really into the draft. He didn’t appear too high on anyone’s list of available quarterbacks. You have to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt, because they’re the best-run organization in the NFL and have found decent value with other quarterbacks late in the draft or among undrafted free agents. But it’s not like New England is going to stop looking for Brady’s replacement now that they have Etling.
Like most things with the Patriots, we like to read too much into every story. Remember when the big story was whether Brady and Bill Belichick would be done in New England soon? Belichick made multiple trades this week that increased the Patriots’ 2019 draft supply, something that would seem to indicate Belichick isn’t leaving soon, and the Patriots did nothing to secure Brady’s eventual replacement in the draft. So much for that.
The Patriots did draft a quarterback, as many people thought they would. It just didn’t generate anywhere near the excitement that move was expected to make.
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