Despite external expectations – and an apparently erroneous report from NFL Network that the team would use a “premium pick” on the position – the Patriots did not select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft.
“It didn’t work out the last three days. That wasn’t by design. It could have but it didn’t,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained during his post-draft Webex call with local reporters.
Some took that as a sign of confidence in the team’s current passers on the post-Tom Brady depth chart, including veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer and most notably second-year former fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham.
Belichick did not shoot down the idea that the lack of drafting a QB said something about the team’s confidence in its two players under contract.
“I like both those players,” Belichick said. “We’ve had Brian a couple times. I think he certainly gives us a very solid level of play. And we have a lot of confidence in him. Jarrett had a good year last year. He improved a lot and we’ll see where that takes him. Yeah, I have confidence in both players.”
A night after New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio made it clear that the Patriots would be adding a third quarterback to the depth chart at some point, Belichick confirmed that guy would come via the undrafted free agent process.
He would not, though, confirm reports online that the player would be Louisiana Tech’s J’Mar Smith.
“We talked to a lot of players after the draft. I wouldn’t confirm anybody until we actually have a signed contract. We’ll announce them once we verify them and they are done,” Belichick said, though he did acknowledge contact with the 6-1, 218-pound Smith. “We’ve talked to J’Mar, no question. Yeah.”
Smith played in 43 games over five seasons at Louisiana Tech, completing 59.3 percent of his passes for 9,523 yards with 51 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He did complete 64 percent of his passes last fall while throwing a career-high 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions.