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Pats Next QB Could be in South Bend Right Now

When it comes to the next round of potentially great NFL quarterbacking talent, football pundits rightfully are talking about the likes of Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence, the latter of whom will likely be next spring's top draft pick.

We all know life after Tom Brady in New England has been somewhat of a roller coaster as Cam Newton still tries to grasp the Patriots' complicated offense while working with second-and-third tier receivers.

But as college football's postseason beckons, I have to wonder, where is the next great Patriots' quarterback?

He's not in Columbus or Clemson. He could be in South Bend, Indiana.

And his name is Ian Book.

There may be a smidge of bias in this opinion as a lifelong Notre Dame fan, but after watching Book the last few seasons in South Bend, it's easy to see he could be the perfect fit to engineer the Patriots' offense.

Book has run a pro-style offense with the Fighting Irish, and reads defenses very well. Much like in New England, Notre Dame's scheme is very reliant on getting the ball to running backs in space and using intermediate passes to set up chunk plays down the field.

With Saturday's 45-21 win over Syracuse, Book earned his 30th career victory, the most by a starting quarterback in the long storied history of Notre Dame football.

Book is also very good on his feet, and doesn't force the ball down the field (he only threw two interceptions during the regular season). He opened a lot more eyes in leading Notre Dame to a 10-0 regular-season record, the Irish's second unbeaten regular-season in three years. That included a home win over then-top ranked Clemson. No matter what happens in the ACC championship game in two weeks, Book and the Irish are likely headed for the college football playoff.

Book's stats won't blow you away, but much like some guy named Tom Brady, he's very efficient and wins games. The only thing missing is a win in the college football playoff, and that will quiet a lot of the detractors - myself included - towards coach Brian Kelly.

I'll also add that Book wears No. 12. Sound familiar, Patriots Nation? Book is also a northern California native, hailing from Sacramento suburb El Dorado Hills.

While Book likely won't be a high first-round pick, if he falls into the second round, the Patriots should give him some consideration. If Jarrett Stidham hasn't seen the field this year save for mop-up duty, do the Patriots really see him as their quarterback of the future?

If I'm Bill Belichick and Co., I'd give Cam Newton an extension in the neighborhood of two years this offseason and try to snatch Book. Give Book a chance to learn under the former MVP and given the salary-cap space the Patriots will have next spring and a potentially healthy Julian Edelman, see what Newton can do with competent pass-catchers.

While Belichick is at it, he ought to give his old Cleveland buddy Nick Saban a call about some of Saban's elite wideouts in Tuscaloosa.


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