Four reasons the Patriots would see fit to host Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater on predraft visits even though they're set at quarterback until at least March 2018, when Tom Brady’s contract expires . . .
JUST IN CASE
Johnny Football moved into the pole position on Mike Mayock’s positional rankings this week and Bill Belichick has a warm respect for Mayock. But even if he’s the best quarterback in the eyes of a respected evaluator, Manziel may not wind up near the top in the final positional stack when all players -- regardless of position -- are graded. He’s little. He swashbuckles. He could get crushed like a grape. It’s unclear if he wants to be “celebrity man guy”. So if Manziel is still sitting there at 20, the Patriots need a dossier. Unlikely? Yes. But better to have taken the time to do this now than say, “Damn, didn’t know he’d be there . . . "
AN EXPIRING MALLETT
Ryan Mallett’s contract is up after this season. The kid needs a change of scenery to find out whether or not he can lead his own team. Think about it: Blaine Gabbert’s already come and gone and Mallett still hasn’t gotten his shot. So the Patriots are going to need to be conversant in quarterback from the top -- Manziel and bridgewater-- down through more likely targets like A.J. McCarron.
In 2010, Josh MacDaniels drafted Tim Tebow in the first round. The Patriots had Tebow in for a much-publicized visit that included Bill Belichick dining with Tebow in the North End. You talk about an anti-Patriotic approach? Parading a kid they’re interested in around a North End restaurant? Were the Patriots really interested or was it a favor to Tebow, Urban Meyer, agent Jimmy Sexton or McDaniels to stamp Tebow with the team’s imprimatur? The fact the Patriots signed Tebow this past offseason would indicate they really liked him all along. Or McDaniels did and he was behind the 2013 test drive.
I’m not sure I totally buy this as being a prime motivator, but some of my peers have noted the Patriots may be building their dossier on these guys who are coming into the league so they can be better prepared for them. So put them on the white board and see what they are challenged by so when you face them, WHAM!. Wham.