Patriots

NFL Notebook: Breaking down the available QBs to Patriots, from trade and free agency, to the draft

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The Patriots — breaking news alert — don't have a quarterback, unless you continue to believe in some farfetched Jarrett Stidham theories that last season was all about Bill Belichick knowing the campaign was fruitless, so he kept Stid The Kid in mothballs to unleash him on the unsuspecting NFL season in 2021.

The rest understand the Patriots need a QB or two, and will be doing everything in their power to secure one.

Will it be via trade? Free agency? Trade-up in the draft? A secondary draft QB? Maybe a mix of everything?

You guys know where I stand — it's Jimmy Garoppolo first, and then Gardner Minshew and a drafted QB second (with Cam Newton likely thrown into the mix) — but what do I know? I have barely watched the draft QBs (that comes in April). 

So let's hear from an expert. Greg Cosell of NFL Films and NFL matchup joined us on the pod to weigh in on a bunch of different QB topics, including what he thought of Cam Newton with the Patriots, whether Newton could be better in Year 2, veterans QBs Gardner Minshew, Marcus Mariota, Sam Darnold and Andy Dalton, and the skinny on NINE draft QBs, from Mac Jones and Kellen Mond to Sam Ehlinger. Here are the highlights, and what you need to know about each player:

Cam Newton's fit in the Patriots' offense

"The best way I can answer that is just with what the film showed. They played as if they did not want the passing game to be a big factor in their offense. ... There were numerous games that I watched on tape where I felt they don't really want to throw the ball very much. I can't speak to the reason why. But we know in today's NFL, it's hard to win and put up a lot of points playing that way."

Newton's ability to throw the ball

"I think he was pretty much the Cam that he's always been. I think he's always been a little bit erratic. I think he's streaky. I think he'll miss throws that are relatively routine that he should make, and then make some throws and you go, 'Wow, that guy can really throw it.' I think that's the way he's been much of his career. He's always had some scattershot tendencies and will miss some. So I think that he was really no different this year than he has been in previous years. He obviously threw the ball less than he had in previous years with the exception of a couple of games. It was not an offense, other than the running part of it, it was not really an offense built around him throwing the football.

On whether the offense would be better if Newton was brought back with more weapons...

"I would say they'll be better. I can't sit here and say they'd be great. ... They probably did not throw the ball as much because they did not feel they had the personnel on the perimeter and a tight end clearly tied into (what they wanted to do). I don't know what they think of the UCLA kid (Devin Asiasi). I liked him coming out. So I don't know what they see in him down the road because I think he's a pretty athletic kid.

"But they're going to have to throw the ball more, and throwing it more means they're going to have to throw it better. If they believe that Cam is the guy to do that, ... then they clearly need upgrades at wide receiver. Almost every year now, going back quite a number of years, wide receiver and cornerback are there two positions in which the most players are drafted in every NFL Draft. Because they're so important in the NFL. It's very, very difficult to play in today's NFL if you can't throw the football and say what you want about Cam, he's obviously had great, great years in this league. He was an MVP, got a team to a Super Bowl and has had a number of great years. But he's not, even at his best, a precision passer. He's not the kind of guy that just sticks it right on receivers' hands, and makes them better, per se. I hate to be cliche, but you know what I mean? He needs weaponry.

Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew