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Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater to visit New England Patriots

Teddy Bridgewater in Patriots gear?

Given that the former Louisville star quarterback might be a top-five pick in a draft where New England holds the No. 29 overall pick, it's hard to imagine. But it's even harder to imagine the club burning one of 30 allotted chances to host draft prospects on a player it isn't serious about. And NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reported Johnny Manziel isn't the only top quarterback prospect going to tour Belichick Land.

It's not entirely far-fetched to think that the Patriots might be willing to invest a high pick in a prospect that could become Tom Brady's eventual replacement, particularly with backup Ryan Mallett being mentioned in trade rumors. The Green Bay Packers' smooth transition from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers didn't come cheaply or quickly. Green Bay spent a first-rounder on Rodgers, and the payoff didn't start until his fourth year in the league. But when the payoff came, it was a handsome one.

And that's exactly the kind of forethought that winning NFL clubs employ, New England being squarely among them.

Don't expect the Patriots to pay a steep trade-up price to take a quarterback early in the first round, as that's the sort of move that only teams with an immediate need make. But if one of the top quarterbacks slips past the top 11, where most of the clubs with a legitimate quarterback need are positioned, there is no telling how far he might fall from there.

After all, it happened to Rodgers.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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