Robert Kraft put the Patriots' need to draft a future successor to Tom Brady at quarterback on notice last week while at the NFL Annual Meeting down in Florida.
"I'm going to put my fan hat on, and obviously at some point we have to," Kraft said to reporters when asked about drafting a quarterback.
Now, David Carr seems to believe he's found a worthy candidate for the Pats owner. While appearing on the NFL Network, the former No. 1 overall pick quarterback highlighted Nebraska signal caller Tanner Lee as a potential late-round option for the Patriots as a developmental piece behind Brady.
“So you see all these guys on film and then you go and you watch them live, and some stuff stands out, guys stand out,” Carr said. “One guy that stood out for me, which is kind of an obscure name, no one’s really — Tanner Lee. He’s bounced around, right? Played at Nebraska, Tulane, and the big thing is it’s not a lot of stats with this guy. But his throws were there, the way he carried himself in the pocket was poised. And I talked to four or five guys after the combine. I said, ‘tell me what you guys think?’ They’re like, ‘Tanner Lee is in our top five.’ And every one of those guys had Tanner Lee pegged as a guy, just like you talked about Sean, a developing guy for the Patriots.
"He looks like, when he’s moving, dropping back, I know he’s wearing No. 12, how weird is that? Another guy, Tom Brady, that moves around and throws the same way, isn’t a guy that's going to wow you with his arm ability and all this stuff. But he’s a guy that if they got him in the system and he learned behind Tom Brady for a while, why couldn’t he be like a Brian Hoyer or even better?”
Lee was a three star 247Sports composite recruit coming out of high school in Louisiana and initially signed on with Tulane. After spending some time manning the Green Wave's offense, the 6-foot-4, 220 pounder transferred to Nebraska. For the Cornhuskers in 2017, Lee started in all 12 games while throwing for 3,143 yards, 23 touchdowns and completing 57.5 percent of his passes.
While Lee certainly has a shown his ability with his arm, his poor decision making and ball security issues are what may sway New England in the other direction at the draft.
That was just one of his two turnovers at the Senior Bowl earlier this winter. Last season he had 16 interceptions which only added to his final 46:37 touchdown to interception ratio. To put those numbers in better, more blunt context: They stink and should be a concerning proposition for an NFL team as he tries to make the leap at the next level.
The Patriots have also been surprisingly bullish at the NFL Draft over the last few years when it comes to drafting a quarterback. While Lee is projected to be a sixth round pick, New England has been more than comfortable reaching into the third and -- in Jimmy Garoppolo's case -- the second round to bring in a quarterback.
While they were lucky with one sixth round pick back at the 2000 NFL Draft in a lanky Michigan quarterback named Tom Brady, it's hard to imagine the Patriots will attempt at capturing lightening in the bottle twice.