As a seventh-round pick, odds favor him joining the previous eight who didnt replace the franchise icon set to turn 41 this summer.
Still, director of player personnel Nick Caserio figured there was a decent chance the Patriots would add someone to Bradys room during a busy draft that featured nine picks and 10 trades over three days a year after New England made just four selections.
”We knew we were going to add to a quarterback to our team at some point,” Caserio said after the draft ended Saturday. ”We think Danny has some decent traits and decent qualities to work with.”
New England used the drafts final day to fill a handful of needs on both sides of the ball and gained three picks for next season, including a third-rounder from Detroit. As of the drafts conclusion, New England holds 12 picks for 2019.
”Busy weekend and a lot of effort from a lot of people,” Caserio said. ”This is not a one-man show. This is a team effort and embodies what this program is about … putting the team first and doing your job.”
After making six trades during the first four rounds, the Patriots addressed the linebacker spot with their first two picks Saturday. New England took Purdues JaWhaun Bentley with the 143rd overall pick in the fifth round and Arizona States Christian Sam in the sixth (No. 178).
The Patriots then shifted to offense, taking Miami slot wide receiver Braxton Berrios at No. 210 in the sixth following by Etling with the 219th choice. New England also took Western Carolina defensive back Keion Crossen (No. 243) and Florida State tight end Ryan Izzo (No. 250) in the seventh round.
Etling will join Brady and backup Brian Hoyer on the depth chart after throwing for 2,463 yards, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions last season.
”I dont have any expectations other than going in and learning as much information as you can and preparing for your chance when it comes,” Etling said. ”You just want to watch a guy whos so great and know how he does it.”
Etling spent his freshman and sophomore years at Purdue and was a teammate and close friend of Bentley.
Here are some other things to know about the Patriots draft:
ANOTHER BOILERMAKER: A three-time captain at Purdue, Bentley follows a line of Purdue linebackers under coach Bill Belichick. Rosevelt Colvin played in New England for six seasons (2003-08) and Rob Ninkovich retired before the start of training camp last year after eight seasons.
REPUTATION DEFENDER: Sam tried to discount an NFL.com profile that suggested he doesnt like to practice.
”Everyone has their own opinion and its something I cant control, but I felt that wasnt true,” Sam said. ”Im a guy who takes pride in practice because I know how big it is to prepare so you can play at a high level.”
IN THE SLOT: The loss of receiver Danny Amendola to AFC East-rival Miami goes beyond the departure of one of Bradys most-trusted targets. It also created the need for a punt returner that was addressed with the drafting of Berrios. In four years at Miami, Berrios averaged 10.4 yards on punt returns.
”I absolutely love it. Theres something about it that gives you an adrenaline rush,” the 5-9, 183-pound Berrios said.
STILL NEED: Etling will compete for a roster spot, yet it would appear the Patriots are comfortable with the idea of finding Bradys potential replacement next year, especially with two second-round picks and three third-rounders. Even with the additions of Bentley and Sam, New England figures to remain active for linebacker help.
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