New England's Next Face of the Franchise: Kevin O'Connell?

Andrew CahillSenior Analyst IMarch 19, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 7: Kevin O'Connell #5 of the New England Patriots shouts instructions against the Baltimore Ravens during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 7, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

 Patriot Pat says-

Patriots fans are getting excited about the upcoming season.  Key offseason acquisitions, the return of TB12, plus the potential swimming around the draft pool in 2009 have them frothing at the mouth for a successful Super Bowl run.

Being a Boston Sports fan, I am inherently paranoid as I am sure sure all of you can relate.  I know Tom Brady was severely injured, and while I am confident that he will be back to form for 2009, I am very aware he will not be the Patriots quarterback forever.

As much as I am a fan of Tom Brady, the truth is, I am more of just a Patriots fan.  It really doesn't matter who is wearing the jersey, just as long as it says Patriots, and they want to win.

Someone that I am seriously excited about, and who I want to ensure as many people know about him as I can is our now second-string quarterback Kevin O'Connell.

I was pumped when he was selected on draft day

Patriots fans who really liked Matt Cassel liked him for his mobility, combined with decent arm strength, and accuracy.  They will quickly forget him when they get a chance to see Kevin.

O'Connell played his college ball at San Diego State University, where he was a four-year captain. 

Having lived in San Diego, I was well aware of Kevin and what exactly he could bring to the table. The Aztecs were not the best team, which would explain why he didn't have much national attention.

Kevin makes Matt look slow, and his passing ability blows him out of the water. Anyone who was wanting the Patriots to trade Brady, and keep Cassel, were first of all stupid, but also had no clue this kid was even on the roster.

Some big things to consider about him?

He is tall (6'5").  He is big (230 lbs). 

At the NFL Combine in 2008, O'Connel ran 4.61 in the 40-yard dash.

His was team captain for the Aztecs all four years, showing natural leadership.

His senior year he threw for 3,063 yards (12-game season) completing just under 60 percent of his passes.  He also ran for 408 yards, and scored 26 touchdowns.  11 of those TD's on the ground.

So be excited for 2009, New England Patriots fans, but don't forget what lies behind the corner.  Tom Brady's retirement will be a sad day, but he and the Patriots may have groomed the next franchise quarterback, Kevin O'Connell.

Andrew Cahill is a true Boston Sports fan.  Be sure to read his story, "Confessions of a Boston Sports Fan, and check out the hyper-links in this article, you will like them."

Also check out his website, "Patriot Pat's Patsies."