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Patriots.com News Blitz - 2/12/2009

If you're an NFL team with a high draft pick this year and you're looking for a franchise quarterback, you might want to look outside the draft.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that New England's Matt Casselis a better option than the top prospects available this year. The question is whether teams would be willing to part with the high cost of signing Cassel away from the Pats or trading for him. Kiper unequivocally said Cassel would be worth the price.

"If you're asking me if I would rather have Matt Cassel or [Georgia's] Matthew Staffordor [USC's] Mark Sanchez, I'd rather have Matt Cassel," Kiper declared.

"This kid had a whole season where he had pressure to deal with, he had circumstances around him that he couldn't control that he had to deal with, yet he still played well," Kiper continued.

"He dealt with bad weather conditions, everything. He showed mobility, athleticism, toughness, accuracy, arm strength, he showed it all. He's a kid who showed he could have been the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. It was amazing to watch him play this year.

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