Head of Patriots player personnel explains what New England liked about draft pick Danny Etling
With the first pick of the seventh round in the 2018 NFL Draft, New England turned some heads with the selection of LSU quarterback Danny Etling. The former Tiger signal caller didn’t exactly inspire fear into the hearts of elite opposing SEC defenses during his two-year career in Baton Rouge, but there is one aspect of his game the Patriots were drawn to specifically.
According to Nick Caserio, New England’s director of player personnel, Etling’s protection of the football was what helped put him on the team’s radar.
Etling may have had issues with that at Purdue, he had a 16-12 touchdown to interception ratio during his first two college seasons, but he turned that around in Baton Rouge. In his two seasons with LSU, Etling threw 27 touchdowns and had only seven interceptions. He only had two picks during his senior season.
“Here’s a guy, a Purdue transfer, went down to LSU and the thing about him – he played for Coach (Cam) Cameron in kind of a pro-style offense. He had some experience. The one thing he didn’t do – he didn’t turn the ball over,” Caserio said of Etling during his recent media availability.
“You look at his career production and this guy didn’t turn the ball over. I think it was 16-2 this year, a low percentage. He takes care of the ball, smart, pretty accurate thrower. There’s some good qualities and traits that we think we can work with and develop. He played against good people on a weekly basis, kind of like we talked about with (first round picks from Georgia) Sony (Michel) and Isaiah (Wynn).”
While it would be absurd to compare the overall games of Tom Brady and Etling, that’s one aspect the two quarterbacks share. The Patriot QB has not thrown double-digit interceptions in a season since 2014 and has done so only three times since 2007.
If Etling needs to play for New England in a pinch, his history suggests he isn’t likely to make a critical mistake. That’s something the Patriots could start with and potentially build upon if the former LSU QB is going to stick around for the long haul in New England.