NFL Draft 2019: Patriots have growing interest in early-round QB, report says

NFL Draft 2019: Patriots have growing interest in early-round QB, report says

Though he may seem indestructible, Tom Brady is no spring chicken. And Brian Hoyer? He’s not the future for the Patriots at quarterback. So, could New England take a swing for their next franchise quarterback in the draft next week?

According to a report from CBS Sports, New England has “taken a shine to” former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.

Jones has fallen in and out of favor with scouts in recent months since declaring for the draft, but the Patriots have been one team that’s shown consistent interest. Patriots representatives were present at Jones’ pro day at Duke in late March and had him in Foxborough for a pre-draft visit last week.

We won’t know until next Thursday if the Patriots like Jones enough to spend the 32nd pick to make him the eventual successor to Brady, but even if they don’t, Jones could be on the board in the second and third rounds if no other team has a similar affinity for the former Blue Devil.

Or, New England, which has 12 picks in the draft, could move up to make a play for Jones if it’s truly smitten.

At 6-5 and 220 pounds, Jones will likely be compared to Duke head coach David Cutcliffe’s most well-known QB success stories — Peyton and Eli Manning. Cutcliffe spoke glowingly of Jones prior to Duke’s bowl win over Temple.

“He’ll be a first-round draft choice if he does comes out,” Cutcliffe said (via The News & Observer). “He’s so accurate. He’s big. He’s fast. He’s athletic. He understands the game. He’s got a fast-twitch mind to go with that fast-twitch body. He’s got impeccable character. You don’t get many chances to draft a guy like that.”

In 2018, Jones completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while scoring another three touchdowns on the ground. In 36 career starts at Duke, Jones has accounted for 69 touchdowns (52 passing, 17 rushing).

New England hasn’t taken a quarterback in the first round of the draft since it selected Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993. The second and third round is where Bill Belichick likes to take a chance on the position, selecting Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round in 2014 and Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Mallett and Kevin O’Connell in the third round in 2016, 2011 and 2008 respectively.