BSS QB Big Board: James Madison | Ben DiNucci

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The New England Patriots are talking to quarterbacks as we lead up to the 2020 NFL Draft next week.  The Patriots have had “numerous video conferences” with James Madison quarterback Ben DiNucci according to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline. 

Photo courtesy of Daily News Record
DiNucci is a 23-year-old quarterback who transferred from Pittsburgh to James Madison and he flourished.  As a senior he threw for 3,441 yards passing, completed 70% of his passes, threw 29 touchdowns and had six interceptions.  The Patriots, who own 12 draft picks in this years draft, could invest a pick on the James Madison product. 

DiNucci earned CAA Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-CAA honors.  He also led James Madison to the FCS title game, but unfortunately they came up short against North Dakota State, 28-20.  DiNucci would end up completing 22 of 33 passes throwing two touchdowns and picked up 204 yards in the air. 

Shop for NBA Jerseys at Fanatics!This year's draft class isn’t stocked with premium quarterback talent, but there are some players who can be serviceable NFL signal callers not named Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.  Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick likes this year's quarterback draft class. 

“Certainly there’s a lot of interesting players and guys who have really good arms, can really throw the ball and some very athletic players, some players that have won a lot of games and have shown their competitiveness and instinctiveness," Belichick said on Monday’s conference call.  "So, interesting group and probably one that has decent depth to it.”

Will the Patriots pull the trigger and draft DiNucci in the later rounds of the NFL Draft?  While that remains to be seen, the Patriots will have some competition for his services.  Reportedly the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers have also met with DiNucci through video conferences leading up to the draft. 

The one reason that Belichick could be interested in DiNucci could be the 70% completion percentage he had as a senior.  Under the guidance of Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can take his live arm and his decision making and build a system that could work for him down the line.  DiNucci projects more as a second or third string type quarterback, but Belichick might see the upside in the former Duke passer. 

A tremendous athlete in high school, he excelled as a dual-sport athlete playing both football and hoops.  Belichick loves athletes and athletes who are coachable to round out his roster.  His big arm and decent size would give the Patriots a developmental project at the pro-level.  Scouts have said that DiNucci is a smart player who can see the field well and isn’t afraid to make plays happens with his legs.  An opportunity for DiNucci is protecting the football and avoiding the turnover.  The reports that the Patriots have interviewed DiNucci numerous times might signal that his name could be called in either the sixth or seventh round. 

The Patriots have done well the last couple of years in drafting from the quarterback position.  They have drafted Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brisett and potential starter this year Jarrett Stidham.  The Patriots have a lot of holes to fill on the roster and potentially quarterback with the departure of Tom Brady this offseason.  The question remains whether Belichick will draft the next guy and develop him or whether he has that in Stidham and we will remain to be seen.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: BSS QB Big Board: James Madison | Ben DiNucci
BSS QB Big Board: James Madison | Ben DiNucci
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