2014 NFL Draft: Quarterback Options for the New England Patriots

Derek Carr Patriots

Derek Carr is having himself a phenomenal season at Fresno State.

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

Will Patriots fans ever see a scene similar to the one played out in Indianapolis earlier this year, with Andrew Luck defeating legendary Colts quarterback Peyton Manning?

It seems unfathomable at this juncture to picture Tom Brady leading a different team—let’s say the Vikings for arguments sake—into Gillette Stadium. As crazy as it sounds, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of Coach Bill Belichick moving on from Tom Brady before Brady is ready to move on himself.

Belichick might be the most and least sentimental coach in the league. The reverence that he holds for some players after they are done—see Bruschi, Tedy—is nearly unparalleled, but he also won’t hesitate to cut you or trade you—too many to name here—if you’ve outlived your usefulness to the Patriots.

While I certainly believe that Brady still has some productive years left in the tank—and Ryan Mallett could be the futurehere are some options that the Patriots might consider in the 2014 NFL Draft.


The thought of the Patriots jettisoning Brady at this point in his career are unthinkable, especially by trading up and picking a rookie quarterback. That said, every year Bill Belichick does something that leaves everyone speechless.

Here are a couple of options, but don’t get your hopes up of having these two talented players on the Patriots anytime soon.

Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon)

Despite some recent struggles, Mariota is challenging for the #1 overall selection, a spot once thought to have only two possible inhabitants—Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney.

With offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels—the man who picked Tim Tebow in the 1st round—likely to have some input on who the Patriots would draft, speed and running ability would seem to be two traits in high demand. Mariota also exhibits enough touch and accuracy to develop into a top NFL quarterback.

Peter King from MMQB.com is a believer as well. “At least two teams love Mariota to the point that I believe if he comes out those teams would have him higher on their board than Bridgewater.”

With each Oregon loss, the prospect of Mariota returning to school—he is only a red-shirt sophomore—grows more likely. As much as Mariota on the Patriots seems like something you’d see in the Madden video game universe, another year into Brady’s career and Florida State phenom Jameis Winston perhaps pushing Mariota down the board a bit would make this scenario much less of a pipe-dream.

Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State)

While some fans might shy away from Carr due to his infamous last name, he is very much his own player.

Carr is nearly as fast as Mariota—4.5 speed!— and is very precise with the football, especially on the myriad screen and underneath routes that the Bulldogs run. His touch down the field is also noteworthy.

Carr is adept at making quick reads and placing the ball in locations that help his receivers maximize their yards after the catch. The one thing that Carr could work on is his footwork, which gets a bit sloppy when making quick throws.

Much like Mariota, the Patriots will almost certainly have to use some draft capital to move up to draft Carr.


Zach Mettenberger (QB, LSU)

Mettenberger was highly-touted coming into the 2012 season, but ended up disappointing scouts and LSU fans alike. Our friends at Optimum Scouting, however, put his resurgence in 2013 into perspective.

“The 6’5” 230-pound quarterback is finally coming along in 2013, with one of the main reasons being that the offense no longer views a quarterback as a unfortunate necessity, but as a weapon. In three games alone, Mettenberger’s showed tremendous improvement, with a more compact throwing motion and shortened throwing base, and, depending on who you ask, those games have been his best three games in his career to date.”

Mettenberger has stood strong in the pocket this year and has held his own against some of the best defenses in the country. He might have the highest upside of the more traditional pocket-passers in the league this year.


Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson)
Blake Bortles (QB, Central Florida)
Brett Smith (QB, Wyoming)
AJ McCarron (QB, Alabama)

There are a variety of intriguing quarterbacks that are going to be available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

McCarron has the name-recognition, but he hasn’t shown the ability to make the toughest NFL throws—deep out for example—on a consistent basis. Boyd is a dual-threat quarterback that will intrigue McDaniels as well. Smith and Bortles aren’t widely known, but each has a big-time arm and enough mobility to stay upright in the NFL.

I can see the Patriots front-office attending one of these players’ Pro Days, having a great interview and workout and snatching them up with one of their day two picks.

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21 Responses to “2014 NFL Draft: Quarterback Options for the New England Patriots”

  1. acm says:

    Mettenberger seems to have torn his ACL and that may well make him fall some in the draft.
    Either way, I don’t think the Pats get a QB earlier than late 3rd and into the 4th and that’s if Mettenberger or Bortles are available there, otherwise, not earlier than the 6th, imo. Would look for a QB who’s at least 6’3″ tall, preferably taller, and has a really, really tight spiral (courtesy of the reminder that the game vs the Broncos was).

    • steve earle says:

      Again we seem to think along the same lines so I find myself agreeing with you again. The only way I see a QB earlier is if 1) Bill trades Millett before the draft 2) Bill trades down our #1 for additional picks this year and intends to trade Millett later. Could happen, but.

  2. qwerty says:

    Amazed that you don’t have Qwerty on your list. He would be the greatest QB ever.

  3. h says:

    Brett Smith, Mariota, Bortles will return to school if they know whats good for them. They are in a lucky situation where they have lots of holes in their game but time to fix it before coming to the next level. I mean Derek Carr woulda been my choice but his stock is rising, and rightfully so. Now now maybe garoblahblah from eiu or Jeff matthews… even wenning from ball st. good small school talent this year.

  4. Marco says:

    I think the Patriots will not burn a draft pick on a QB until the 5th round.20014 Qb class is very deep and probably will be a hidden gem at laterounds/Undrafted.
    Guys like Garrett Gilbert; Chase Rettig, Bryn Renner, Keith Wenning( very good surprise), Tom Savage or Casey Paschall( was a projected 1rd pick 2 years ago but off the field issues and injury in the beggining of the season killed his draft hopes)
    At least one of these will be a very good in the NFL

  5. Jim Rice says:

    Guys, you are sleeping hugely on Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois. This kid is fantastic, great footwork, lightning quick release, can read the field.

    He’s going to be special.

  6. steve earle says:

    As for QB’s I’m old school. I’d prefer a pocket passer over the option running type even those who are good to very good passers. I’ve become convinced that Bortles would be the best fit for the Pat’s system, McDanials be damned, as I’ve followed his success this year. Not only a good arm but good quick reads, decisions and up-side. I’m sticking with the Idea Bill will trade down and would not be shocked at all if the kid was Bill’s first pick and it would be okay with me. Often I have said I’m a poor judge of QB’s but I’m as sure of this guy as I have ever been, just my opinion.

    • J H TARBORO says:

      Steve E. I like your old school values but the way colleges are recruiting nowadays and the types of spread and running offensive play, it’s pretty hard to predict who would make the cut at the next level.

      • steve earle says:

        JH, your so right and the trend will continue as long as they have success with it. But I remembed a few decades ago when the wishbone options were all the rage until the defenses caught up with them it was then the turn of the offenses to to adapt which they did by going pro-style. Going back and forth over time is normal. As I’ve frequently said I’m not much of a judge of QB prospects but for the Pat’s to draft an option QB is a set up for failure by the young man. BB is not going to swap over his current offense as long as Brady is around noe even put in enough special plays for a young guy to fairley evaluate him. Unless I miss my guess Bill will be looking for a drop back pocket passer to fit the offense rather then a squar peg and try to jam it into the round hole.. jmo.

  7. Woo says:

    I love the Vikings reference, A+

  8. J H TARBORO says:

    Blake Bortles is a great pick but don’t sleep on Jordan Lynch from Northern Ill. the whole country has but Heisman voters.

  9. tonn says:

    Oh man bortles would be awesome in a pats uniform. Kid’s got a cannon arm and is by all accounts obsessed with the game. Hope he makes it to the 3-4th round, but it’s unlikely..sigh

  10. Eric says:

    I’d love to see Tajh Boyd be drafted as the QB of the future. He could probably step in as a starter day one, but I think some time to develop would be best for him, and it’d be a big boon for him to do so learning from Brady, Belichick, and McDaniels.

  11. P8ryts says:

    I’m a Blake Bortles fan but I think Murray in lower round would be ok.

  12. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Interesting Article! I’ve been talking about the importance of the Patriots looking at the QB position in this years draft. If Ryan Mallett’s not the future guy (he has one more year on his contract), then this is the year to draft a guy. I think next year Bill carries 3 QB’s on the roster, as a 2014 drafted QB needs a year to get to know the system.
    Looking at the prospects in the upcoming draft, there are just a few I think fit what the Patriots look for in a QB. I also think, because the Patriots have other team needs, the 4th round is the place to draft a QB.
    The guy I think fits the best, with the most potential, is QB Jeff Mathews 6’3″ 220 out of Cornell. A smaller school for sure, but Mathew’s potential is there, along with a strong work ethic, and high intelligence. Because Cornell is a smaller school, Mathews should be on the draft board in the 4th round or later.

    • Alex says:

      Saw this quote and thought it would interest you Russell. From NFL.com

      The aforementioned AFC college scouting director said he doesn’t understand how McCarron isn’t the overwhelming Heisman favorite, then offered this assessment: “Good size, outstanding touch on all throws, can make all the throws but only has average arm strength. Average running ability but very good feet and movement in the pocket to avoid sacks. Outstanding progression-read quarterback, makes throws to his second and third reads consistently. Doesn’t turn the ball over. Winner. Mentally tough. Has the moxie and cockiness most great QBs have. Very similar to Tom Brady in stature, athletic ability, arm strength, touch and the most important category — wins.” The college director said McCarron is a solid first-rounder who has a chance to be the first QB off the board. An AFC area scout added: “I’d draft him in the latter part of the first. He’s better than some of the guys who went in the first — (Christian) Ponder, (Jake) Locker, (Blaine) Gabbert. Maybe he doesn’t do anything great, but he has a lot of good qualities, and he works at it.” Meanwhile, in some circles, McCarron is seen as a third-round type. So it’ll be interesting to watch him go through the process in the spring.

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      Thanks Alex!! I like QB A.J. McCarrons alot, it would be GREAT if the Patriots could get him! But I agree with the Article I don’t see him dropping to the Patriots 2nd round pick, and I doubt Bill take’s him in the 1st round. Bill will most likely trade back, out of the 1s round.

  13. John Courtney says:

    I think the Pats could take a player like Aaron Murray in round 3 or 4 and do very well. He is a pocket type passer who in 4 years as starter has 13166 yards passing with 121 passing TD’s and 16 rushing TD’s #1 all time in the SEC. He did it without a top pass receiver or running back in a number of games over those 4 years. He had 323 yards passing against Clemson and 4TD passes 298 yards against Mettenberger and LSU. A good option for the Pats.

    • Alex says:

      Aaron Murray will probably drop until the 6th or 7th round due to injury, and basically having to miss his first NFL year. This would make him a good pick up as a back up QB option, and Mallett replacement for 2015.

    • bmp1113 says:

      ya i dont see much of a rush for the pats to draft a qb if murry is still there.

    • Barkevious says:

      I’m so glad you mentioned him. Don’t understand why James didn’t include him in the list. Murray can make all the throws and has done it against elite defenses for years. Not a cannon arm, but accurate. He also has the attitude you want from a QB.

      And his knee injury? Who cares? It’s not like any QB we draft is going to play meaningful minutes for the next 2 years [I sure hope anyway].

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