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The post-Tom Brady era in New England is business as usual

Heading into the 2020 NFL draft, one of the most pertinent questions surrounded the New England Patriots and their quarterback situation. For the first time in 20 years, head coach and final decision-maker Bill Belichick had to make a critical decision at the game’s most important position. Yes, he drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, and Jimmy G was the expected successor to Tom Brady. But Brady responded with the best five-year stretch of quarterback play in NFL history, and Garoppolo was flipped to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-rounder. 

[Editor’s Note: PFF's instant analysis on EVERY pick of the 2020 NFL Draft can be found here. You can also find all of our pre-draft and up-to-the-minute analysis categorized and readily available here. Get your copy of the PFF 2020 NFL Draft Guide today by clicking here.]

This is the first time during the Belichick regime that he’s ever headed into a season with indecision at quarterback, and it’s the first time for the Patriots franchise since they drafted QB Drew Bledsoe with the first overall pick in 1993. Of course, the most important quarterback decision in NFL history was Belichick’s move to go with Brady over Bledsoe back in 2001, one that netted a Super Bowl win that season and the first of six titles with Brady at the helm. 

With Brady off to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this has been a rare time that we can get into Belichick’s mind about what he values at the position and the proper strategy to find his next starter. What was the plan?

Go the free agent route with Jameis Winston or Cam Newton

Trade for a veteran like Andy Dalton or Jacoby Brissett

• Trade up for a first-round quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa

• Draft a project like Jordan Love in the late first round? 

• Draft a developmental option in the middle rounds?

Or was it just business as usual in Foxboro, and last year’s fourth rounder, Jarrett Stidham, is going to be the starting quarterback in 2020? So far, we have our answer — it’s business as usual in Foxboro. 

The Patriots have managed with a consistent strategy of putting a value on players and rarely straying from their valuation. They approached Brady in the same way, and they’re now attacking the 2020 draft with the same discipline.

Instead of making a power move for a quarterback, this draft looks exactly like previous Belichick drafts. Multiple trades, usually picking up value by moving back. Versatile defensive players to replace the similarly versatile players who have moved on. Attacking needs by doubling up at the position. Drafting a special teamer.

What will the post-Brady era look like? Business as usual. Let’s take a look.


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