Notes on the backup QB spot, Gostkowski and Dekoda Watson
|04.18.10 at 2:06 pm ET|
The Patriots appear to be doing their due diligence around building depth at the quarterback position heading into the draft. (I touched on some of that in a story a little while back here.) Throughout the pre-draft process, it’s been confirmed that they have worked out a few collegiate quarterbacks — Florida Atlantic’s Rusty Smith, Northwestern’s Mike Kafka and Cincinnati’s Tony Pike among them — and had a celebrated sit-down with the much-ballyhooed Tim Tebow.
If they do end up taking one — and given the Patriots’ draft style, it’s likely they’ll bring in at least one quarterback, either in the draft or as an undrafted free agent — it’s all an attempt to try and build some depth behind Tom Brady. In addition, it’ll mean a busy offseason for current No. 2 quarterback Brian Hoyer, who already anticipates spending a lot of his time fending off challengers for the backup QB job.
To Hoyer’s credit, he’s already been through a competition for the job. Last summer, he was the last man standing in a group that included veteran Andrew Walter, as well as youngsters Kevin O’Connell and Matt Gutierrez. He’s only entering his second season in the NFL, but Hoyer is well-aware that competition is going to be part of the job.
“I’ll never forget, when I was being recruited at Michigan State, I was like, ‘Well, you guys have a bunch of quarterbacks here,’ and one of the coaches was ‘There’s always going to be quarterbacks wherever you go. You’re always going to have to compete,’” said Hoyer, who was 19-for-27 for 142 yards in five games last season. “It kind of struck me then — no matter what you do, you’re always going to have to compete against someone. If anything, it pushes me harder to work harder in the weight room and you know, in the bubble and throwing and running, the little extra things.”
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has signed his restricted free-agent tender, according to the Boston Herald. On March 4, Gostkowski was tendered at a second-round level, and so with the news he’s signed, he’ll earn a base salary of $1.759 million on a one-year contract. A fourth-round pick out of Memphis in 2006, Gostkowski made the 2008 Pro Bowl, and in 2009, he led the Patriots in scoring for the second straight season, tallying 125 points while going 26-for-31 in field goal tries and a perfect 47-for-47 in extra-point tries The move leaves the Patriots with two restricted free agents left: guard Logan Mankins and outside linebacker Pierre Woods.
According to a league source, while Florida State linebacker Dekoda Watson may have met with the Patriots, he did not, in fact, have a private workout with the team. Last season, the 6-foot-2, 226-pounder registered 65 tackles, 13 for losses and six sacks for the Seminoles. Watson is considered one of the most impressive athletes in the draft, but maybe the most notable element to Watson’s game is his sudden weight loss — he was at 240 pounds at the combine, but dropped to 226 pounds at Florida State’s pro day. (The weight loss resulted in a much faster time in the 40-yard dash. He was at 4.56 seconds at the combine, but ran the 40 in 4.46 and 4.40 seconds at the pro day.) Considered an early- to mid-round pick, Watson is not considered one of the 15-18 elite “conversion” players (a defensive end who makes the transition to outside linebacker) NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock has spoken about, but could be an intriguing selection for a team looking to add value at the outside linebacker spot in the middle rounds of the draft.
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