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Best prospect fits for NFL teams looking to groom young QB

The Patriots' visits with Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater raised eyebrows last week, but it made plenty of sense. While those two QBs might not fall into the Patriots' lap, Tom Brady isn't going to play forever, although he's still one of the league's top quarterbacks with his 37th birthday in sight.

The Patriots are not the only team that would be taking a sensible approach by drafting a quarterback to groom behind an established starter, though.

Here's a look at which quarterback prospects would fit best with NFL teams that could have an eye out for a signal-caller of the future outside of the first round in this year's draft.

LSU's Zach Mettenberger

Team: New England Patriots

Why is it a fit?
With reports that Brady's backup, Ryan Mallett, is on the trade block, it's not a surprise that New England is doing its due diligence on some of the draft's top quarterback prospects. Mettenberger would be a very nice fit with the Patriots, and my colleague Albert Breer reported he met with the team Tuesday on the even of his pro-day workout. Mettenberger is a big, strong-armed pocket passer that could develop while Brady continues to shine.

Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Why is it a fit?
Ben Roethlisberger isn't over the hill by any means, but he's certainly endured his share of wear and tear during his 10 NFL seasons. Thomas, who absolutely looks the part, fits perfectly in terms of frame -- like Roethlisberger (6-foot-5, 241 pounds), he's a big-bodied guy at 6-6, 248. He needs to become more accurate and consistent, but would be very intriguing as a developmental backup in Pittsburgh.

Alabama's AJ McCarron

Team: Denver Broncos

Why is it a fit?
Denver is already grooming a young quarterback behind Peyton Manning in Brock Osweiler, but that doesn't mean they have to stop looking for other options. Manning relies on his football smarts and incredible timing -- he doesn't have the most powerful arm anymore. McCarron, while he certainly isn't on Manning's level as an orchestrator of offense, operates similarly and could compete with Osweiler for the role of heir apparent.

Pitt's Tom Savage

Team: Chicago Bears

Why is it a fit?
The Bears just signed Jay Cutler to a long-term deal this offseason, but head coach and quarterback guru Marc Trestman might decide he would like a young player to tutor. The Bears could certainly use competition for backup Jordan Palmer. Savage would be a fine fit in Chicago. He's a big guy with a strong, accurate arm and should be able to throw some darts when the wind comes howling off Lake Michigan at Soldier Field.

2014 NFL Draft Winds
College Football 24/7 takes a look at the rumors connecting draft prospects with NFL teams leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.

» AFC East | North | South | West
» NFC East | North | South | West

More:
» Tracking teams' interest in top prospects

Georgia's Aaron Murray

Team: New Orleans Saints

Why is it a fit?
Drew Brees also has plenty of good football ahead of him, but it's not too early to think about preparing a youngster for down the road. Murray would be a perfect fit for head coach Sean Payton, who is used to dealing with guys like Murray (6-0, 207) that don't have ideal size. Murray is a gym rat who loves the game. He has tremendous experience as a four-year starter in the SEC and has shaken off some hard knocks during his career.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Why is it a fit?
Head coach Bruce Arians doesn't use kid gloves on young quarterbacks. He throws them in the water and says, "Swim." Garoppolo would be up to the challenge. He has a high football IQ and as quick a release as any quarterback in the draft. He's a very hard worker and would have some time to get acclimated behind Carson Palmer.

Keith Wenning

Team: Green Bay Packers

Why is it a fit?
In the Packers' case, they're not looking for a potential replacement for Rodgers, whose career is far from over. They just need a backup, and Wenning fits the bill. He's not going to come in and challenge Rodgers, but he has been tutored well and was very productive at Ball State. While he doesn't wow you with much, I think he could help Green Bay get through a game if called upon.

Follow Charles Davis on Twitter @CFD22.

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