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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Sources: Pats to host Jake Locker

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Are the New England Patriots preparing for life without Tom Brady? According to sources, New England is exploring the possibility of adding an eventual successor in this year's NFL draft.

The Patriots are hosting a two-day visit Tuesday and Wednesday with top quarterback prospect Jake Locker of Washington, sources told ESPN.com.

Locker, who threw for 2,265 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, is projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick.

This year, the Patriots have the No. 17 and No. 28 overall picks, which could afford them the luxury of filling an immediate need as well as potentially drafting a highly rated quarterback in the first round to groom behind Brady, the NFL's reigning Most Valuable Player.

New England does not have any proven quarterbacks on its roster behind Brady. Backup Brian Hoyer joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009 and has thrown for just 264 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his career.

Brady, who will turn 34 in August, is signed with New England through the 2014 season and is still playing at an elite level.

Therefore, the Patriots should have several years to find and develop their quarterback of the future.

James Walker covers the NFL for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.