FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The pick: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
My take: The New England Patriots are planning for the future with this pick. Top backup Ryan Mallett's contract expires after the 2014 season, and Garoppolo can possibly develop behind the scenes this year before elevating to the No. 2 role next year. That's the same path that Mallett (2011 third-round pick) took with the team, as he was the third-stringer behind Brian Hoyer in 2011 before bumping up the depth chart. Two things could change that plan, and it would be the Patriots trading Mallett at some point during the draft, or Garoppolo simply out-performing him in the preseason. Is it too early to be thinking quarterback in the draft? Tom Brady is signed through 2017 and still playing at a high level, so unless there is a sudden decline from Brady, Garoppolo most likely wouldn't get on the field until 2018 at the earliest (when he'd be on his second contract). But it's not out of the norm. The rival Denver Broncos, after all, selected Brock Osweiler in the second round of the 2012 draft with the idea of having a young signal-caller to develop for the future.
What did they pass up? By investing in a developmental quarterback, the Patriots passed on tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, who went three picks later at 65 to the Houston Texans. The Patriots have a need at tight end and Fiederowicz was one of their pre-draft visitors. Did the Patriots pass up a player who could have helped them now for a player who might not see the field for four-plus years? That's the debate when making a pick like this. The Patriots obviously didn't see a player who could help them immediately and would be guaranteed a roster spot on a well-stocked roster, and it will be interesting to see if their analysis was on the mark in the coming years.
Behind-the-scenes fact: Garoppolo and Brady share the same agent.
What's next: The Patriots' next pick is in the third round, 93rd overall.