It’s no secret; Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger. Playing in the NFL as a 42-year-old is no small feat, and Brady hasn’t shown any real signs of regression. However, the New England Patriots have commonly stockpiled young QB talent over the past five or so years, just in case Tom decides to call it quits. They could do the same in 2020, and search for a replacement to Brady in the 2020 NFL Draft.
In 2014, the Patriots used a second-round pick on Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo; he’s currently leading the only undefeated team left in the NFL. In 2016, the Patriots drafted NC State QB Jacoby Brissett in the third round. Brissett is currently doing a great job manning the ship in Indianapolis after Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement. Both proved to be excellent draft picks. However, Brady ended up lasting longer than either player with the Patriots.
This list isn’t solely based on how I view these players, but how I believe the New England Patriots would view them, and how each individual would fit in the Patriots system. It’s also not necessarily limited to incoming rookies, but young players who may also be available via trade or other methods. Without any further explanation, here are six total players I believe would be best suited to be the replacement to Tom Brady with the 2020 NFL Draft nearing.
Honorable Mention: Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots
This one felt like a bit of a cop-out, so I made him an honorable mention. Jarrett Stidham was someone I viewed very highly as an underclassman, but I was rather disappointed by how he played as a senior. Stidham had excellent physical traits and could make every throw, but he struggled to grasp the Auburn offense and was often caught making poor decisions. This preseason, he looked comfortable and finished with a respectable 4-1 touchdown-interception ratio. The Patriots could have Tom Brady’s heir apparent already on their roster. How Stidham develops in the future will be supremely interesting.
#5: Jacob Eason, Washington Huskies
Jacob Eason is someone I’m a big fan of. His physical traits are at the top of the class, and his high points have been jaw-dropping. He reminds me a ton of Matthew Stafford, and that’s a comp you’ll see throughout the entire draft process. Eason has the ability to rocket a ball in a near non-existent window, and he throws a very pretty deep ball. However, if Eason is to replace Brady, he’ll need to clean up his game-to-game performances. Tom Brady’s greatest strength is that you know you’re going to get a clean and concise game no matter what. Eason lacks this ability, and while his highs are very high, his lows are very low.
#4: Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma Sooners
I’m much lower on Jalen Hurts than the consensus. I don’t believe he’s a Round 1 prospect like many others, because he lacks refinement as a passer. His statistics this year are bloated by elite Lincoln Riley play design and game-planning. That being said, Hurts has excellent physical potential as both a runner and a passer, but neither are his greatest strengths. Hurts is a winner, and a leader, two similarities he shares with Brady. He commands respect and gives his all on every snap. His team wants to play with him, and his coaches love to have him. Hurts has the mindset to be a great player, but will it be enough to be a great NFL quarterback? We’ll have to wait and see.
#3: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
This one is the weird one. Cam Newton’s future with the Panthers is cloudy. He was placed on IR, and may never play another snap for Carolina ever again. On the other hand, he could come back and start for the Panthers if they were to snag a postseason spot. If Carolina makes Cam Newton available, and if Brady decides to retire, I don’t see why there wouldn’t be a mutual interest. Cam would get to finish his career with a Super Bowl contender, and the Patriots wouldn’t have to bank on a young signal-caller.
#2: Josh Rosen, Miami Dolphins
Josh Rosen has had the most unlucky start to a career I’ve ever seen. He went from the worst roster in the NFL as a rookie, to an even worse roster in his second season. I was very high on Rosen leading to the 2018 NFL Draft; he remains my highest-rated QB prospect to date. If the New England Patriots can find a way to land Rosen, I think we’d finally get a chance to see who Rosen really could be. I would most prefer for Rosen to spend a year behind Brady, however, and learn from the best.
#1: Jake Fromm, Georgia Bulldogs
Limited arm strength, no real athletic ability, yet still finds a way to win games. Sounds a lot like Tom Brady, doesn’t it? Well, I was actually talking about Georgia QB Jake Fromm. Fromm excels on timing routes where he can show his accuracy, and his ability to read a defense. Fromm is the easiest QB to see becoming a successful heir to Tom Brady because he wins with his mind more than his physical abilities.