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NFL Draft: Clubs take fliers on QBs in late rounds

N.C. State's Ryan Finley goes to the Bengals, the Patriots bring in Auburn's Jarrett Stidham.

North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley will be

North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley will be in Bengals camp. Finley had 25 TD passes and 11 interceptions last season for the Wolfpack.   Photo Credit: AP/Gerry Broome

Quarterbacks took center stage on the final day of the draft Saturday, although it’s too soon to know whether any of them will take over as starters anytime soon.

The best chance lies with former North Carolina State star Ryan Finley, who was drafted by the Bengals in the fourth round. With Andy Dalton’s tenure in Cincinnati uncertain under new coach Zac Taylor, Finley could eventually land in the starter’s role. Especially because the Bengals took the rare step of trading up for him; it was just the fifth time in team history that the Bengals have traded up for a player.

The Bengals packaged two of their sixth-round picks to move up four spots to get the 49ers’ pick and use it on the 6-4 Finley, who had 25 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions last season.

The Patriots also dipped into the quarterback market Saturday, selecting Jarrett Stidham of Auburn in the fourth round. There’s no indication that Tom Brady, who turns 42 in August, is ready to step away from the NFL. But Bill Belichick decided Stidham was a worthy candidate to serve as a backup, along with veteran Brian Hoyer.

Stidham is the fifth quarterback the Patriots have drafted since 2010, and Brady has outlasted all but Danny Etling, a seventh-round pick out of LSU in 2018, who is currently on New England’s practice squad. Ryan Mallett (2011), Jimmy Garoppolo (2014) and Jacoby Brissett (2016) have all moved on after backing up Brady.

Looking to shore up their backup quarterback situation after losing Nick Foles to free agency, the Eagles drafted Northwestern passer Clayton Thorson in the fifth round Saturday. Thorson finished as Northwestern’s all-time leader with 36 wins and had 61 touchdown passes and 45 interceptions in four seasons. Thorson will compete for a backup spot behind Carson Wentz, who is coming off back surgery.

The Ravens used a sixth-round pick to select Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. In three seasons as the Nittany Lions’ starter, McSorley passed for 9,899 yards and 77 touchdown passes and rushed for 1,697 yards and 30 rushing touchdowns. McSorley will compete with Robert Griffin III for a backup job behind Lamar Jackson, a first-round pick in 2018.

Washington beefed up its running attack by adding Stanford’s Bryce Love in the fourth round, although they will have to wait until Love is back on the field. A Heisman contender coming into the 2018 season after a spectacular 2017 campaign in which he rushed for 2,118 yards and had 19 touchdowns, Love suffered a torn ACL in December.

Shortly before the draft concluded, quarterback Josh Rosen posted a video on his Twitter and Instagram accounts thanking Cardinals fans for their support during his one season with the team. Rosen was traded to the Dolphins on Friday night after the Cardinals selected Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick Thursday.

“I know we didn’t win as many games as we all would’ve hoped, but I had an unbelievable time in the desert,” Rosen said. “Unfortunately, my time here is coming to an end. But you guys are getting a hell of a player in Kyler Murray. He’s going to do great things for the Red Sea.”

Rosen added a moment of levity at the end of his message.

“Kyler, one more thing,” he said. “An awesome two-bedroom [condo] in Old Town just came onto the market, so let me know if you’re interested and I think I can get you a pretty good deal.”

The Cardinals made the final pick of the draft Saturday, selecting UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson at the end of the seventh round. Wilson became this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” a nickname given to the final pick of the draft. The honor dates to 2000, and Wilson gets a trip to Disneyland, as well as a visit to Newport Beach, Calif. He’ll also receive a trophy called the “Lowsman,” a play off the Heisman Trophy given annually to the top college football player.

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