Should the Bucs use the 2021 draft to find Tom Brady’s potential heir, they probably won’t give much of a gaze to Bill Belichick’s wrinkled blueprint.
One can rightfully argue the one used for decades by the dour Patriots coach, in a seemingly endless quest to provide adequate backup to Brady, contains as many smudges as serviceable NFL signal callers.
As veteran NFL reporter Dov Kleiman recently noted, New England has drafted the third-most quarterbacks (11) of any team since 2000. None were taken in the first round, and only one — Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 — was chosen in the second. Never in his 21 seasons in New England has Belichick taken a quarterback with one of the top 60 selections.
Of those 11 drafted quarterbacks, five have started an NFL contest.
Then again, the very first quarterback drafted on his watch in New England, with the 199th overall selection 21 years ago, evolved into the greatest of all time.
All of which is to say, Belichick’s draft foresight — while uncanny at times — also has its periodic blind spots. Here’s a snapshot of the careers of every quarterback drafted by the Patriots since they chose Brady in the sixth round in 2000:
Rohan Davey, LSU
Fourth round, 2002
Attempted 19 passes in three NFL seasons
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Sixth round, 2003
Appeared in one regular-season game (for Jets in 2005)
Matt Cassel, Southern California
Seventh round, 2005
81 career regular-season starts; went 10-5 for Patriots in 2008 after Brady blew out his knee in Week 1
Kevin O’Connell, San Diego State
Third round, 2008
Made two NFL appearances, attempting six passes
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State
Seventh round, 2010
Never appeared in an NFL regular-season game
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Third round, 2011
Amassed 3-5 record as starter over five seasons
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
Second round, 2014
24-8 career record as starter; led 49ers to Super Bowl in 2019
Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State
Third round, 2016
12-20 record as starter over five seasons; 84.1 career quarterback rating
Danny Etling, LSU
Seventh round, 2018
Hasn’t appeared in an NFL regular-season game
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Fourth round, 2019
Has completed half his passes (24-for-48, 270 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs) in eight NFL appearances
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