Probably like most of us, and most of the football world, I was really surprised when Belichick took a QB in the 3rd round of the draft this weekend. I had heard of Kevin O'Connell but confess I didn't know much about him at all. So it got me thinking, as it should when someone as smart as BB does something that you don't see coming--why and why now? And a few points came to mind: -- Brady has what, maybe 5-6 great years left? It takes at least 2 years in the NFL to develop a starter. I had been thinking the window to start LOOKING for a successor was 3-4 years away. But BB was thinking the window was much sooner, from now to 3 years away. -- The NFL is a QBs league--you simply cannot overstate the importance of the position, so it is logical to do almost anything you can to land a franchise QB. Think about it--get it right and you are set for like 8-10 years! I would be apoplectic if I were a fan of some team like Chicago, KC, Miami, etc. who have been screwing around for years doing nothing meaningful to attack the single most important factor holding them back. -- And so, how do you actually go about doing it if you're the PATs? What is your strategy to find the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? -- I had never really thought much about this, but in the wake of this weekend's drafting of KO, I began to imagine that executing this strategy MIGHT, just MIGHT, look very much like what we just saw. Why do I say that? -- First, the Pats are going to very likely be very good for the next 4-5 years, and will normally be drafting at the bottom of the 1st round. So right away, that knocks them out of the simple drafting of a clear franchise QB that they, ane everyone else, might have identified. -- You might think they could trade for that draft choice, but what would it cost them to move up? Two firsts? A first and a top existing player? Not BB's style--I don't see it happening that way. I could see BB trading for an undervalued QB on another team, but still hard to find the diamond in the rough that way. -- No, the more I think about it, I see it being exactly like what they just did with O'Connor. Not another total, ridiculous longshot at 199 in round 6 like the original Brady. That won't happen again. But taking a shot with a 3rd rounder that has many of the right raw materials and has a SHOT of being THAT GUY, and overlooked by others? I love it the more I think about it! (really I like the concept, the idea, the strategy--of course I have no clue if this actual QB will pan out...). But if they wait until it's pretty late in the QB succession cycle, then by definition it's way too late and you can flounder for 5-6 years looking for him--in fact that's the norm now in the NFL. -- In fact, I wouldn't be surprised, given the upside of it, to see the Pats do exactly the same thing in the draft next year and the year after--use a pretty high pick to made an educated bet on another QB w/potential. And, you would be looking for a certain profile here--not the obvious, finished package, but one with a ton of upside but also a decent chance of a bust. You're going to miss on some, but the payoff is like hitting the lottery. -- I especially liked the recent move because it was vintage-BB contrarian. Nobody saw it coming, nobody predicted it. To me, if BB somehow pulls off finding Brady's replacement seamlessly, that's where it will come from, and what it will look like--only in hindsight will you see the intelligence and foresight of the move, not as it happens.