Bill Belichick Says Patriots Not Taking a QB in NFL Draft Wasn't 'By Design'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 26, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick takes notes on the sideline in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL Draft is April 23-25, 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The New England Patriots made 10 selections during the 2020 NFL draft, but none of them were for a quarterback as the team moves on from the Tom Brady era.

In regard to that decision, head coach Bill Belichick said the following to reporters on a post-draft call, per ESPN's Mike Reiss:

"If we feel like we find the right situation, we'll certainly draft them. We've drafted them in multiple years, multiple points in the draft. Didn't work out the last three days. That wasn't by design. We just tried to do the best we could with what we had this weekend."

New England did add Louisiana Tech quarterback J'Mar Smith as an undrafted free agent, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. That gives the Pats three signal-callers in second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, veteran Brian Hoyer and Smith.

Stidham should have the inside track on the starting job, as Reiss noted, although Belichick isn't giving him the keys to the franchise just yet.

"Jarrett had a good year last year. He improved a lot. We'll see where that takes him," Belichick said.

Stidham went 2-of-3 for 14 yards and an interception returned for a touchdown in mop-up duty during a 30-14 win over the New York Jets in Week 3 of last season. That marks his only regular-season action.

He showed promise in the 2019 preseason, completing 67.8 percent of his passes for four touchdown and one interception at 8.1 yards per pass attempt.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller wrote the following on Stidham before the 2019 regular season.

"Stidham has looked very good in the preseason while showing nice chemistry with the Patriots' young receivers. With no clear-cut plan in place for life after Tom Brady, the Patriots rolled the dice on a fourth-rounder who had shown considerable promise in his junior season but struggled behind a very bad offensive line as a senior.

"It's early, but the Patriots appear to have another Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett on their hands. This one might stick around to replace the GOAT."

Miller also gave Stidham a Round 2 grade in his 2019 scouting report, comparing him to the then-Oakland Raiders' Derek Carr.

By all accounts, Stidham looks like the odds-on favorite to replace Brady at this time. The lack of experience is concerning, but Stidham has flashed enough potential in college and the NFL preseason to bolster belief that he can be a solid long-term starter.