We do not ask the question in capital letters. It would be impertinent to use this approach to address the subject of drafting players with the six-time Super Bowl champions.So be aware we do not mean this to be taken as: WHAT WERE THE PATRIOTS THINKING? That may not continue to be the case. It wasn’t entirely last year, when the Bills improved to 10-6 behind a stout defense that ranked second in the AFC in points allowed. (Behind the Patriots, of course). Miami is hoping top draft pick Tua Tagovailoa will lead a Dolphins renaissance. It would seem to be a pivotal year for the Jets, with quarterback Sam Darnold in Year 3.The Patriots invested much of this draft class in their defense, which will need to resume performing at an elite level with Brady no longer around and the quarterback situation so dicey. It is risky to doubt Belichick after two decades of uninterrupted excellence, but it’s not unfair to mention he’s never won a playoff game, never even made it, with someone other than Brady as his quarterback.At the moment, Belichick seems unconcerned. But who knows what he’s thinking? We’re merely asking the question to access information: What were the Patriots thinking?Having lost the greatest quarterback of all time, the GQBOAT, to an offseason free-agent departure, the Patriots began the 2020 NFL Draft with only Jarrett Stidham and his four career pass attempts on the QB depth chart, curiously not updated to include 34-year-old veteran Brian Hoyer despite his addition as a free agent March 23.MORE 2020 NFL DRAFT:Full results | Grades | Winners and losersThe Patriots might have had the opportunity, given abundant draft capital that encompassed 11 picks on the final two days, to move into the first round and beat Green Bay to Utah State prospect Jordan Love. They didn’t budge.The Patriots had the opportunity, at pick No. 37, to select Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, so valued by the Eagles they spent a second-rounder on him even though they have Carson Wentz tied up with a contract worth more than $128 million. Instead they went with Division II safety Kyle Duggar of Lenoir-Rhyne.The Patriots had the opportunity, at picks No. 60, No. 87, No. 91 and No. 101 to select Washington quarterback Jacob Eason, or Florida International’s James Morgan, or Georgia’s Jake Fromm. New England passed on all of them in favor of promising pass rusher Josh Uche of Michigan, then Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings, and then a pair of tight ends, Delvin Asiasi of UCLA and Dalton Keene of Virginia Tech.And then, with Fromm still hanging onto the draft board, the Patriots selected kicker Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round, at pick No. 159. They need a replacement for Stephen Gostkowski, as well, who was released in March after 14 years with the team.MORE: The 8 worst value picks from the 2020 NFL DraftBy the time they spent a pair of sixth-round picks on offensive linemen — guards Michael Onwenu of Michigan and Justin Herron of Wake Forest — they had made it clear that not only is their quarterback of the future not in this draft, their backup of the present is not, either. By the end of the draft, they had exercised 10 selections without choosing a quarterback.There still are two QBs on the free agent market who have started in the Super Bowl: Joe Flacco and Cam Newton. There is one who passed for more than 5,500 yards only a year ago: Jameis Winston. There are a couple with extensive experience as starters who still are reasonably young: Blake Bortles and Mike Glennon. It would seem Andy Dalton is gettable in a trade, though he still remains on the Bengals roster.What Belichick thinks of any of them — more to the point, thinks of them as potential Patriots — is impossible to say. He is Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to information. The Boston Globe’s primary draft story Sunday contained only one quote from the man in charge. It was from two weeks earlier, expressing not so much comfort with the team’s quarterback situation as familiarity.MORE: Patriots pick Justin Rohrwasser tries to straighten out his far-right problemThe Patriots have owned the AFC East for nearly two decades. They are 91-25 against division opponents and have won the division championship every season but two since 2001. Some of that has been the obvious excellence of the Patriots, who have won six Super Bowls and played in three others. Some of that has been the rest of the teams performing like trash.