Potential Patriots: 5 quarterbacks to keep an eye on in NFL draft

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The NFL draft is quickly approaching and the Patriots have 12 overall picks, including six in the top 101. Given their lack of moves during free agency, the team should be very active. This will be a series broken down by position of players who could be of interest to the team. Today, we look at the quarterbacks.

The Patriots will always be in the market for a quarterback until Tom Brady’s replacement is found. This year’s class isn’t said to be all that strong, but it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team select a QB in really any round.

Here are five names to keep an eye on.

Will Grier, West Virginia- There’s a good chance Grier will be gone when the Patriots select at No. 32 overall, but that doesn’t mean they can't trade up a few spots to grab him. The West Virginia quarterback spoke at length during the combine of how his offense took elements of the Patriots’ last year, which is certainly a plus. Also, Nick Caserio was at his pro day, and it’s been reported the Patriots have plans to meet with him leading up to the draft.

Daniel Jones, Duke- Jones is another player who potentially could be off the board by the time the Patriots pick if there is a run on quarterbacks, but he’s been the quarterback connected to New England the most. His pure numbers don’t match some of the other top QBs, but he wasn’t exactly working with the best roster at Duke. He did have a great pro day and playing under David Cutcliffe likely helps his stock as well.

Ryan Finley, NC State- Finley is more of a mid-round target, but has a ton of experience and that is something the Patriots value along with accuracy, which he has as well. The 24-year-old has also been through a lot after transferring to NC State from Boise State and earning the trust of his new teammates quickly to take over as the leader of the offense.

Brett Rypien, Boise State- Ironically, Rypien is the quarterback who passed Finley at Boise, but the two have remained close through the years. The Boise product is more of a late-round selection, but could be worth a shot as another arm during training camp could be helpful. Also, the Patriots have shown in the past the ability to swing a trade with a young QB who is the odd man out (Jacoby Brissett for Phillip Dorsett), so having four quarterbacks on the roster may not be the worst thing in the world.

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn- Stidham certainly is viewed as a project, but like Rypien could be worth a late-round selection. NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah had him out as a potential name to keep an eye on with the Patriots during an appearance on Mut & Callahan last month because of how smart he is and his willingness to learn. If the team feels like he’s an upgrade over Danny Etling, maybe it’s worth a pick.