By Willis Patenaude @willispatenaude on April 14, 2014
The Tom Brady era is slowly coming to an end for the New England Patriots. He will turn 37 before the 2014 regular season and the window is closing on a storied and celebrated career. The day all Patriots fans have dreaded -- his inevitable retirement -- is fast approaching. Here are five QBs who can replace Brady and make it a smooth transition and give fans a reason to believe rather than jump ship.
Tom Brady’s understudy since being drafted in 2011 is young, knows the system and has a cannon arm. The negatives include questionable decision making and short pass accuracy, but given the limited sample size with which to judge him on, it is safe to say the jury is still out. There is talent there, but being the victim of constant trade rumors certainly isn’t helping his situation. If asked, he could do the job.
Currently the backup QB in Washington and insurance policy for the injury magnet Robert Griffin, Cousins has shown the ability to intelligently manage games, make big plays and show poise under pressure. His deep ball accuracy is not the greatest, but neither is Brady’s and the team doesn't have deep ball threats anyway. He is a tireless worker who could easily be molded into a Brady successor.
The winningest QB in college football history has been in bench-warmer purgatory since being drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2012, and he deserves a chance. While not as flashy or as arrogant as the Johnny Manziels of the world, Moore knows one thing and it’s how to win. He is a free agent in 2015, and it would be worth it for the Patriots to take a shot. The best part for Bill Belichick is he would come cheap.
He is projected as a second to fourth-round pick and was coached by Bill Belichick friend Nick Saban at Alabama. McCarron, who completed 66.9 percent of his passes with 77 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while in college, has Brady like abilities when it comes to execution, decision-making and reading defenses. He is smart with an underrated arm, which all sounds familiar to Patriots fans.
Mayfield won’t be draft eligible until 2016, but the wait would certainly be worth it. As a true freshman starter for Texas Tech, he completed 64.1 percent of his pass attempts for 2,315 yards, for 12 touchdowns and was named the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. He is methodical, precise and has moxie, currently outplaying Sugar Bowl MVP Trevor Knight in Oklahoma, his new home, in spring games.
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