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Searching for Tom Brady...thoughts on drafting a QB

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Poker, Apr 29, 2008.

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  1. Poker

    Poker Practice Squad Player

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    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.
     
  2. pwes

    pwes In the Starting Line-Up

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    Brady got hurt last year. Cassell sucks as a backup and is leaving within the next year. I think it's about as simple as that. I doubt Beli got him to be Brady's eventual replacement. It's hard to find a good QB. Teams are always drafting the next guy to be the face of the franchise who end up stinking up the field. It's essentially dumb luck to fall upon a really great QB.
     
  3. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Look at the clip posted in the highlight thread above...this kid looks like a RB...if his arm is accurate, I think he most definitely is the heir apparent to Brady down the line
     
  4. Poker

    Poker Practice Squad Player

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    Cassell was clearly just a backup--safe, no pizzaz.

    No way O'Connell was just another backup QB choice. You're right that's it almost impossible to find a franchise QB. So doesn't it make sense that you have to try some unusual-looking moves like this to find him?
     
  5. Poker

    Poker Practice Squad Player

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    One other point on this luck factor: there are a few ways to get lucky: there is the Indy 1998 way: suck so bad, usually for multiple seasons, that you get the number 1 pick in the draft the year a Peyton Manning happens to come out.

    Or, you find a diamond in the rough. But this second type of "luck" can be made somewhat more stategic if you explicitly try for those QBs. You might need 4-5 tries to get it right.
     
  6. Disco Volante

    Disco Volante Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I see no reason to believe that Brady's years at top form will be any less than those of Favre or Jeff Garcia - who both just came off Pro Bowl years at age 38.
     
  7. pwes

    pwes In the Starting Line-Up

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    After 4 or 5 times I'd call it it luck.
     
  8. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Tom Brady 6'4" 225 lb
    Matt Cassel 6'4" 232 lb
    Matt Gutierrez 6'4" 231 lb
    Kevin O'Connell 6'5" 235 lb

    Cassel and Gutierrez were flyers, trying to find a diamond in the rough. O'Connell has the skill set and intangibles to progress as far as he wants to go. He is raw and just about every part of his game needs to be fine-tuned, but he will have a fine example to follow every day in practice.

    Some posters have mentioned that he may lack the pocket presence of Brady and that may be something that you can't teach. Fair point and something to watch this pre-season.

    I'm not sure the Pats see Brady in O'Connell. I think they see amazing physical skills that need to be smoothed out with hard work and repetition. He is in a perfect situation to succeed...not to be the next Brady, but to reach his own potential which should be plenty good enough to be a solid NFL starting QB.
     
  9. sieglo

    sieglo In the Starting Line-Up

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    Last year, only the Pats first rounder made the team (excepting Richardsen, who was on IR and doesn't really count).

    So why not take a flyer with a 3rd rounder? It's a pick you're going to waste anyway. If the Pats were smart, they'd just package everything after the seond round and trade for better picks next year anyway. :D
     
  10. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    The difference between him and Cassel and Guitierez is they expended a pick of some value on this guy.

    Cassell showed nothing in college except he competed with top QBs. A roll of the dice in the 7th.

    I believe they've been following this kid and he's had a poor supporting cast so they've had to project.

    I've seen reports on him as a definite potential starter raw materials wise.

    More than a roll of the dice, less than a sure thing. They've got the time if he has the patience, character etc.
     
  11. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd stick to the obvious answer. When we were picking in that slot he was the best player on the board, and behind Brady we are weak at QB.
     
  12. World Champs 3X

    World Champs 3X Practice Squad Player

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    Yes they had pro bowl years, but we are looking for super bowls.
     
  13. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv In the Starting Line-Up

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    After checking out O'Connels highlight films, I think I am very excited to see him get some playing time. Now that Brady owns all the single season records. I would like to see O'Connel get some real laying time when its 47-10 this season.

    The guy is quick, tall, and man, if he can get some years working on accuracy, I think he is going to make a greta Steve young to our Joe Montana.
     
  14. primetime

    primetime Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I'll take Garcia, but do we really want Brady to descend into Favre-dom?

    That said, I understand your point. QBs can play until their late 30s. Brady may have peaked but he's not on his way down yet, and he's got at least half a decade of good football in front of him. O'Connell will be long gone by the time Brady is done, barring any unforeseen injuries, God willing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2008
  15. ctpatsfan77

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    Just remember that BB never does "contrarian" things for the sake of being contrary; it's just the way that particular draft unfolded.

    Even the greatest "example" of said "contrarian" thinking--BB going all-offense during the draft some folks called Linebackerpalooza--was not an intentional plan.
     
  16. Poker

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    To clarify, the point of my original thread was not:

    A) That Brady is anywhere near finished -- clearly he is in his prime

    or

    B) That Kevin O'Connell is definitely THE successor -- no one can say that

    but more about BB and the process of possibly trying to find the next great QB, what that would look like as it was happening. Said differently, how many of the great football teams with HOF QBs have ever made anything resembling a smooth transition from one great QB era to another? The only clear one is the SF 49ers from Montana to Young. Not the Packers, Steelers, Cowboys, Elway Broncos, Kelly Bills, etc. They all dropped off and had long dry spells. Obviously, I'm not at all worried about our QB position, just interested in observing how BB handles this one in the context of NFL history since so much of what he does is long-term.
     
  17. mcgraw_wv

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    I think it is safe to say that Brady isn't the Marino, of Farve type that will play far beyond his ability to play at a top level...

    I do not see having Brady on this team more than 5 years...
     
  18. MiChargers

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    As an SDSU alum, just wanted to chime in regarding O'Connell. I think you guys made a good selection for a backup...that's about it. He's got alot of raw talent, very raw. Granted he might really shine with a good team to work with and obviously having Brady as a mentor will really help. Lord knows, he never really had a good team with State. An accurate arm and very good moving out of the pocket. I would venture that he's more accurate on the run, than in the pocket (a little Favre-like). He'll probably start as a 3rd stringer, then may move up to Brady's backup. However, based on his past performance, I dont know if he'll ever be THE starter for the Pats post-Brady. But that remains to be seen.
     
  19. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    This is has been said in other threads, but I think it makes the most sense. You have the opportunity to draft what you think is a solid QB, and he's the best player left on your board at that spot, you gotta do it.

    Brady is going to get rushed even more than last year. I think the super bowl was a bit of bad luck combined with the Giants top pass rush, but whether it's actually the best stratgey to beat us or not is irrelevent. Teams are going to copy it and that means they're going to go all out trying to get in Brady's face.

    If he takes more hits, there's a good chance he's going to miss a game or two, no one is invincible. Then you get O'Connell in there to fill the gap, and if he excels, you have a blue chip trading prospect in the offseason.

    Best case scenario though, Brady plays every game and O'Connell never sniffs the field in a crucial situation.
     
  20. MoLewisrocks

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    Just knowing the way this offense is managed, I have a feeling this kid was selected more with an eye for developing a currency chip than primarily backing up Brady. Brady's backup needs to be like Brady. One of the many issues with Rohan was he needed a Rohan playbook, which he still couldn't execute but that's another story... Maybe this kid can develop into a Brady-like QB, or maybe he can just develop into a QB who might really suit another system, or maybe he never develops at all. But he definitely has some room to develop...if he has the capacity to. He's really here too early to develop into a Brady replacement long term, which is the only way developing him alone (and altering the offense to suit that development and his skill set) would work. Unless we get him killed, Brady will be the starting QB here for another several seasons. This kid will be gone in 4 or less.

    I used to marvel at how the guy who saw something in Brady saw anything in Rohan. I thought we were past that, but who knows. Cassel has some good wheels, for those of you who disremember. Yet even when he makes a play that way BB tends to grimace a bit - because he's not necessarily doing it the way a QB here is intended/required to. Now maybe after watching this kid and analyzing what he had to work with and talking to him about what he wishes he could do they feel he has what it takes to be a disciplined pocket passer who can use his natural athletic ability to makes things happen but only when it's called for or as a last best resort. Cassel could to that too, only they haven't encouraged him to, have they? In this system Chinese Fire Drill is the last resort play on the final page of the overall playbook. Tossing aside discipline and flyin by the seat of your pants is not a system, it's an alternative born of desperation. Does it work sometimes? Ask Eli. But does it work consistently - NFW. Bill wants consistency because absent it lies more potential for chaos than championships.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2008
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