The Fountain of Youth could possibly be located in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Tom Brady is still a quarterback in the NFL at age 40.
As the Patriots exit their bye week, Brady has looked nothing short of phenomenal, something we all have come to expect. With an injured receiving core, Brady has managed to lead the league in passing yards thus far. Critics and fans alike have wondered when Brady will hang up his jersey for the last time. Showing no signs of aging in his eighteenth season, Brady hopes to play as long as possible. In 2014, on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan morning show, when asked when he plans to retire Brady simply said:
“When I suck I’ll retire. But I don’t plan on sucking for a long time.”
In the wake of Tom Brady’s play during the first half of the season, the Patriots made roster moves. During the team’s bye week, the Patriots agreed to trade backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, to the San Francisco 49ers. Earlier in the season, the team also moved third string play-caller Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts. Both backups saw starting time early last season, and have won at least one Super Bowl ring under Tom Brady. After trading both substitutes to Brady, the Patriots resigned 32 year old Brian Hoyer. With Brady proving to the Patriots that he can play well into his 40’s, the team now has time to pursue a new successor. Luckily for the team, there are a few quarterbacks who could hold down the starting job in New England after Brady.
J.T. Barrett, Senior at Ohio State University
Barrett has been somewhat consistent in his four years playing for OSU. Coached by Urban Meyer, J.T. has realized his craft in passing, and running, the football. Barrett is having his best season at OSU, posting 28 touchdown passes, and 2374 yards. He is quickly zeroing in on his career bests, with a few games to spare. Barrett quietly sits in the Heisman Poll rankings, with a quarterback rating of 83.3. He could be a raw prospect who could learn a lot watching Tom Brady play out his final seasons. With a similar throwing arm, Barrett could fit right into Patriots’ offensive scheme which focuses on medium passes over the middle. One component Barrett could add to the offense is his own running game, which could open up a few passes downfield to Gronk, or Brandin Cooks. Expect the Patriots to exercise that second round pick they acquired from the 49ers, or a third rounder in the 2018 Draft, to get Barrett if Belichick is impressed by him.
Sam Darnold, Sophomore at University of Southern California
Darnold has put up considerable numbers as a young college quarterback. For the second season in a row, he has accumulated almost over 3000 passing yards, and 20+ passing touchdowns. With an average QBR of 79.2, he has proven to be a reliable quarterback for the Trojans. With talks of Darnold remaining at USC for the 2018 season rather than declaring for the draft, he could be a possible prospect for the Patriots in the future. He would be a top prospect if he were to declare in 2018. Were he to drop to the second round to the Patriots, it would be a steal. Coming from a big team in the PAC-12, Darnold would have what it takes to play the next level for the Patriots.
Luke Falk, Senior at Washington State
Luke Falk has fallen out of the constant media coverage CFB stars like Baker Mayfield receive. Falk quietly threw for two 4000+ yard seasons at Washington State, something which has definitely raised a brow for Coach Belichick. Bill Belichick has had a history of scouting players at lesser-known colleges (i.e. Jacoby Brissett at NC State, Jimmy Garoppolo at Eastern Illinois). Falk is on pace to have three consecutive seasons with 30+ touchdowns, with a high passing rating. His name might slip in the 2018 Draft due to the hype of some other quarterbacks, but Falk can hang with the rest of them.
Mason Rudolph, Senior at Oklahoma State University
Rudolph might be the lesser hyped quarterback coming out of Oklahoma this season, behind Mayfield. However, Rudolph’s consistency with passing the ball in his career at Oklahoma State has been downright impressive. Since his first full season starting in 2015, Rudolph has not had a season where he has thrown for less than 3000 yards. His passing percentage has been around 63% his whole career. He has also been consistent with throw 20+ touchdowns per season. These numbers are not extremely flashy, but show Rudolph can play at a similar level each year without going cold. This trait will be coveted in the NFL. Rudolph could possibly fall to third or fourth round, where the Patriots can draft him.
Jake Fromm, Freshman at University of Georgia
Fromm is certainly a young prospect, but he has helped the Bulldogs rise into the top three of the national rankings. With around 1500 yards and 15 touchdowns, Fromm has played exceptional, but could definitely use some work. Should he declare for the draft in 2018, which is doubtful, he could learn a lot from Tom Brady. He has shown leadership in Georgia early, which is a great skill. He should be a future prospect for the Patriots, if they do not take a quarterback in the 2018 draft.