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Jimmy Garoppolo drafted by Patriots 62nd overall

The New England Patriots are cautiously starting to think about life without Tom Brady. At the very least, they are now ready for life without Ryan Mallett.

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Bill Belichick's team selected Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with the No. 62 pick Friday in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. This news appears to support the notion that Mallett will soon be dealt, but NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Patriots currently expect to bring Mallett to organized team activities and minicamps. 

It's a surprise in one sense considering New England's other needs. But the Patriots closely examined the top of this quarterback crop and smart analysts like Marc "The Sizzler" Sessler predicted that the Patriots would take a quarterback early. Garoppolo has a big arm and a quick release that helped him rise up draft boards during the postseason process.

We don't think Brady should take this as a message, but Garoppolo is the first Patriots quarterback who has a legitimate chance to succeed Brady in New England. By the time Garoppolo's rookie contract is over, Brady will be 41 years old. The rest of Brady's contract is fully guaranteed and there's no reason to think he won't be the team's starter for at least two more seasons.

After that, Brady is a year-to-year proposition. Father Time remains undefeated, and the Patriots are starting to prepare for life without Brady. This is the highest the Patriots have drafted a quarterback since Drew Bledsoe, the man that Brady once famously displaced.

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