AFC Notes: Jaguars, Patriots, Ravens

     

Jaguars

New Jaguars RB Chris Thompson beat the odds as a fifth-round pick with the Redskins and he credits his former head coach in Washington, Jacksonville OC Jay Gruden, with being a major part of that. So when Thompson was looking for a new home after the Redskins didn’t re-sign him, reuniting with Gruden to fill the Jaguars’ need for a pass-catching back made too much sense. 

“He is one of the biggest reasons I was able to have the success that I had in Washington and to be able to stick around there,” Thompson said via John Reid of Jacksonville.com. “Throughout this whole process and all my time there in Washington, he believed in me. He gave me every single opportunity that he possibly could. Me coming here to Jacksonville, being familiar with his offense, it is good for me.”

Patriots

The Patriots seem to have made their intentions clear to go into the 2020 season with 2019 fourth-round QB Jarrett Stidham penciled in as the starter. The only other quarterback addition New England has made, despite being connected to just about every single passer who came available this year, is signing veteran and former backup QB Brian Hoyer. But former Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich says not to count out Hoyer as New England’s Week 1 starter given the difficulties Stidham could face in this particular offseason. 

“I think Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1 and I say that because the quarterback position is one of the most important for reps under center, seeing defensive looks, looking at coverage, understanding the offense,” Ninkovich said on ESPN via WEEI. “There’s no minicamp, there’s no offseason, there’s no training camp. We don’t know when that’s going to happen. So if you have a veteran quarterback who has been in the system, understands what to expect what an NFL season is like, you’re gonna want to go with a guy who has the veteran leadership [and] also what it takes to be in that building. Look, when you’re a second-year player, you really don’t realize what a season’s like as a starter. You don’t understand what it’s going to take, and not having an offseason does not help. So, Brian Hoyer will be the starter Week 1.”

  • NFL Media’s Michael Giardi says the Patriots will tailor the offense to Stidham’s strengths if he wins the starting role, including featuring Stidham’s mobility. 
  • Giardi adds 2019 first-round WR N’Keal Harry is focusing on fixing his footwork and improving his quickness this offseason to improve his production in his second season. 

Ravens

Ravens first-round LB Patrick Queen wasn’t as experienced as the typical Baltimore first-round pick. Queen left for the NFL with just 16 career starts and didn’t lock up a full-time starting role as a junior until the fourth week of the season. But in this case, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as more exposure might have pushed Queen out of range of Baltimore’s pick late in the first round. 

“With a guy like Patrick, there’s not a rawness to his game,” Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz said via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “When you take a guy who’s maybe not polished, then you’re having to project that the coaching, and the player’s ability to process and learn, and develop the specifics of the position — then you’re having to project more. With a guy like Patrick, you’re just projecting that he’s going to be even better. Like, next year he’d be a top-10 pick or a top-15 pick versus a top-28 pick.”

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