The New England Patriots' in-house visits with quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater on Wednesday have created a buzz locally. The topic was brought up to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. on Thursday morning, and he shared his viewpoint/instinct on what the Patriots might be thinking:
“We’ve had this happen in the past where quarterbacks who were projected to go top-10 slid down. It happened with Aaron Rodgers. He was projected to be the No. 1 pick overall two to three weeks before that draft and he dropped into the 20s. He waited four full years to be the starting quarterback. But Green Bay went that route and look how it paid dividends for them. With [Tom] Brady getting up there now, [who] is the heir apparent? [They] brought in [Ryan] Mallett a few years ago.
“You look at Bridgewater, he could slide. After pick No. 8 [Minnesota], there is no team except Cleveland at 26 -- and if they take a quarterback at 4 they’re not taking one at 26 -- that would consider a quarterback. Maybe Tennessee [No. 11] possibly. These quarterbacks, if they get past [No.] 8, could drop.
“You heard what Mike Zimmer had to say about Manziel. You know Bridgewater’s stock has dropped since his pro day. Derek Carr, some like him, some don’t. So you really have to do all your due diligence, figure it all out, try to bring everybody in.
“At quarterback, if one of those guys was available and they slid -- a lot of mixed opinion on Manziel. [Blake] Bortles is more of a consensus now in the top 8. If one of those three, and probably Bridgewater would be the one -- I can’t see Manziel sliding out of the top 8 -- he could get down into the 20s. It’s happened before, with Brady Quinn. A lot of people thought [Andy] Dalton would go in the 20s and he didn’t. You look at Boomer Esiason in ’84 -- thought he could go in the early to mid first round and he went in the second round. You can go way back in time and this has happened before.”