N.C. State coach Dave Doeren didn’t know that the New England Patriots were going to take quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the NFL draft but he had a pretty good idea.
Before the draft, the Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys showed the most interest in Brissett, the Wolfpack’s starter in 2014 and 2015.
“All of those teams have an established, veteran quarterback and are trying to find that next guy,” Doeren said.
After going in the third round to the Patriots, there’s a chance Brissett, who threw for 2,662 yards and led the Wolfpack a 7-6 record last season, could be their quarterback of the future.
Brissett was one of three N.C. State players taken in the draft. The Patriots also took offensive linemen Joe Thuney in the third round.
Brissett’s the fourth N.C. State quarterback to be taken in the draft since 2004 and he might have the most interesting situation of the decorated group of Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon.
Tom Brady’s suspension
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is one of the best in NFL history. He has led the Patriots to four Super Bowl titles but turns 39 before the start of the 2016 season.
Brady, who threw for 4,770 yards and 36 touchdowns last season, doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, but he can’t play forever.
And the Patriots might have to start the season without Brady. A federal appeals court ruled the day before the draft started that Brady must serve a four-game suspension for his role in “Deflategate,” which goes back to the 2015 AFC championship when the Patriots used underinflated footballs in that game.
The only other quarterback the Patriots had on their roster before the draft was third-year backup Jimmy Garoppolo.
If Brady’s suspension is upheld – he beat the same charges last year and played all 16 games – Garoppolo would likely start the first four games. That would mean Brissett would start his NFL career as the backup.
Given the Patriots’ track record of grooming and trading Brady’s backups, there’s a chance Garoppolo could be dealt next year and Brissett would be in line to be Brady’s successor.
That’s still a few moves down the road. After he was picked by the Patriots last Friday, Brissett wasn’t worried about Brady’s status or how exactly his future would play out.
“I’m just overly joyed and excited about the opportunity to learn from the greatest in the business in coach (Bill) Belichick and (offensive coordinator) Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady,” Brissett said in a conference call with the New England media on draft night.
The Patriots had a need for Brissett and he came highly recommended from a coach in Belichick’s past. Former NFL coach Bill Parcells has served as a mentor to Brissett, who was a two-sport star at Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Belichick was the defensive coordinator for Parcells’ two Super Bowl champions with the New York Giants in 1986 and 1990.
Parcells, who also coached the Patriots, last worked in the NFL in the Miami Dolphins’ front office in 2010. He retired near Jupiter, Fla. and knows Brissett’s high school coach, Jack Daniels.
It didn’t take long for Parcells, who used to go to Dwyer’s practice, to take a liking to Brissett.
“He’s an awesome kid,” Parcells told the Boston Herald. “He’s very bright. He has zero personal issues. He’s a very dedicated, committed guy and I think he’s going to the absolute perfect place for him.”
Brissett said he was thankful for all of Parcells’ guidance.
“He has been so helpful to me throughout this process and just keeping me steady and keeping a good head on my shoulders and you know I just can’t thank him enough,” Brissett said.
Parcells, who coached the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI, compared Brissett’s leadership qualities to some of the best players the Patriots have had.
“He’s a Curtis Martin, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown type player,” Parcells said. “That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s what New England is getting. Those kinds, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who’ve been successful – he’s very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.”
You’ve made it, now you have to take advantage of your opportunity.
NC State football
Doeren, who coached Brissett for three years after he transferred from the University of Florida in 2012, said all the NFL teams he talked to about Brissett were immediately impressed with his leadership ability and the way he interacted with his teammates and coaches.
“Jacoby understands you can’t get respect without being respectful,” Doeren said.
Doeren said his post-draft message to Brissett was simple.
“You’ve made it, now you have to take advantage of your opportunity,” Doeren said.
For Brissett, it might just turn out to be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio