(First in a position-by-position look at the Patriots leading into the draft)
Personnel: Tom Brady, Kevin O’Connell, Matt Gutierrez
Short-term need: Depth. With Tom Brady returning from his left knee injury, adding a fourth option to the depth chart — either in the form of a veteran or a developmental prospect — seems like a smart move as extra insurance.
Long-term need: Moderate. Brady is signed through 2010, O’Connell through 2011 and Gutierrez through 2009.
Quick hit: Drafting and developing quarterbacks can be good business, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots go that route for the second year in a row. O’Connell is a 2008 third-round draft choice who served as the No. 2 quarterback after Brady’s injury last season.
Prospects that could be on the radar in the draft or rookie free agency: Liam Coen (UMass), Brian Hoyer (Michigan State), Tyler Lorenzen (UConn), Stephen McGee (Texas A&M). McGee draws comparisons to O’Connell.
* Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide used as reference