As Tom Brady moves into the later part of his career, the question on the top of most Patriots fans' lists going into the offseason is who will be his eventual successor. Will it be current backup Ryan Mallett, who enters the season on the final year of his contract or will they draft a quarterback to fill the position when Brady does choose to retire.
New England took a step to answer these questions in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. With the 62nd overall pick, the Patriots ended some speculation on their future intentions by drafting Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo was spotted at a pre-draft visit with the Patriots in April. While Belichick dismissed rumors of a trade involving Mallet heading to the Texans during last night's press conference, Mallett's days could be numbered with the drafting of Garoppolo.
Life without Brady seems to be a hot topic in the past year as the three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback will be 41 by the time Garoppolo's rookie contract is up. There is cause for optimism as Garoppolo hails from the same school that produced Jeff Christensen, Tony Romo and Saints head coach Sean Payton.
The pick was a bit of a surprise knowing the Patriots have other needs, such as the tight end position. Time will tell if this turns out to be a smart pick for New England.
In 2013, Garoppolo won the Walter Payton award which is given out to the FCS' most outstanding offensive player of the year.
Garappolo started all four years of his collegiate career and threw for 5,050 yards last season, currently the second highest record in FCS history. He also became the highest drafted player to come out of Eastern Illinois, topping the Bronco's 1999 third round pick of Chris Watson.
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