Tom Brady is no longer a New England Patriot. That will never become normal to say. For years we had wondered who would be the heir apparent to Brady? Who was Octavian/Augustus to Julius Caesar, who was the Robert California to Michael Scott, who was the Jurassic Park: The Lost World to Jurassic Park. For a few years it was pegged to be Ryan Mallett and boy are we all glad it wasn’t. Then it was Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brady allegedly forced him out of town. But who could have thought it would be Jarrett Stidham who inherits the keys to the kingdom from the GOAT. Even after the draft last year I don’t think anyone had Jarrett Stidham as the guy pegged as the next quarterback under center for the Patriots, post-Tom Brady.
And even still post 2020 NFL Draft there are still people out there that feel like Cam Newton, or a trade for Aaron Rodgers or Jacoby Brissett makes the most sense for the Pats moving forward at QB. Which makes me wonder why are people not buying into Stidham more? Well that’s why I am here to get you excited for the Jarrett Stidham era in Foxboro.
Stidham began his college career with the Baylor Bears playing for Art Briles. He was highly recruited coming out of High School in Stephensville, Texas. He started in 10 games his freshman year at Waco. But a broken bone in his ankle finished what was a very promising season where he only lost one game to Oklahoma. Unfortunately for Stidham, the sexual assault allegations hit Baylor and Briles firing ensued. He then left Baylor, which in hindsight was probably a mistake. Imagine if he could have stayed, kept playing in the flag football league which is the Big 12 under Matt Rhule he might of accumulated the stats to make him a higher draft pick.
He sat out a year, helping a community college football team as their varsity scout team QB. And then he ended up at Auburn who had recruited him coming out of high school. Stidham posted good but not great numbers at Auburn. Though there is a massive difference between Big 12 defenses and SEC defenses. Stidham’s claim to fame at Auburn, he took down Jalen Hurts and the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2017 Iron Bowl.
I find this game the one I keep coming back to when I think about Stidham being “The Guy” for this team. Tom Brady never had the biggest arm, was never the most accurate or athletic but what made people fear Brady was that he was always going to give you his best in the big games, when it mattered most. And trust me there aren’t many bigger games in college football than the Iron Bowl. For Stidham to perform like that, against a top ranked, Saban-led Bama team is impressive.
Here is the thing though the following year for Auburn was an offensive disaster. The offensive line was a wet paper towel in terms of protection and Auburn has never been known as a strong wide receiver program. Stidham lost his confidence among the incompetence of the rest of the Auburn Tigers in 2018 and left school for a better situation and coaching in the NFL.
Draft Scouting and Comparison
One of my favorite parts when reading about draft prospects are the comparisons for the incoming player. It gives you an immediate idea of what they could become. Like Joe Burrow has been compared to Tony Romo, Tua to a left handed Drew Brees. My comparison for Jarrett Stidham is a mix between Jimmy Garoppolo and Dak Prescott.
Stidham has the pocket poise and arm strength and accuracy of Jimmy Garoppolo. When I watch Stidham throw it reminds me of Jimmy G. They both hit guys right on the numbers, their throwing motion is classic over the top and fluid, and they can either rocket a ball into a tight spot or give it the right amount of touch. And it makes sense as to why Belichick would draft Stidham and believe in him so much.
Prescott was a 4th round pick, the 135th overall in 2016. Stidham was a 4th round pick, 133rd overall in 2019. Both came from the SEC with Prescott having a little more fanfare. By the way, trivia fact for you, in the first ever College Football Playoff rankings the number one team in the nation at the time was Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Prescott came in right away and shocked everyone by taking Tony Romo’s job and now is in line for a big pay day. Stidham appears to be taking Brady’s job, and both are pretty mobile guys who can escape the pocket when they need to.
Now lets look at the numbers as to how I make this comparison. And if you look at all three they are basically a clone of each other. All are 6-2, 215-225 pounds with similar wing spans. Prescott and Stidham both run a 4.8 40 time with Jimmy G clocking in at 4.97. And if you look at each one’s pre-draft strengths and weaknesses Stidham’s is the most promising out of the three. Most of his cites his failure to build on his impressive 2017 season at Auburn, as well as being shaky and inaccurate in the pocket but we saw that happen to even Tom Brady when protection broke down.
And lastly come the draft grades. Stidham was given a 6.10 prospect grade with Jimmy G and Prescott both coming in at 5.90.
I for one think we’d all be ecstatic if Stidham is a cross between Garoppolo and Prescott. Sign me up for that all day.
Professional Career So Far…
Stidham hasn’t had much time or opportunity to impress the Foxboro faithful just yet. But I liked what I saw in the pre-season. Especially the fourth and final week of the 2019 pre season against the New York Giants.
What is notable about this game is that Stidham played the entire game, and with the first team offense. For Belichick to give a first year rookie the reigns for the entire game, even if it’s only pre-season is important, he doesn’t give hand outs. Also Stidham finally got to throw to receivers like Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas. Also shoutout to this being the best Demaryius Thomas game in a Patriots uniform.
But look at what Stidham can do with a good offensive line and receivers. Now I get it, he’s not going up against the Chiefs on the road in Arrowhead with 2 minutes left to go in January. But it’s still something I’m excited to see.
And the other part to this, is he actually trusts N’Keal Harry. Brady sure as hell didn’t, he hated Harry for some unknown reason. Harry isn’t a great route runner but he can go up and get a contested ball and I’m sure Stidham will rely on that a few times this year. I’m excited to see what those two can become.
The Patriots also signed undrafted free agent wideout Will Hastings, who was Stidham’s slot receiver in college. He is 5-10, 174 pounds and yes he is caucasian. Sounds like a perfect Patriots slot receiver in the making. Hastings missed the 2018 season with a torn ACL, again leading to Stidham’s decline in production that year.
Here’s Jarrett Stidham finding newly singed UDFA Will Hastings for a TD during his junior year. At least 1 UDFA has made the #Patriots 53 man roster out of camp for 16 straight years. pic.twitter.com/z53VLBy8p4
— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) April 26, 2020
The unknown is what scares people the most about this kid. Can he lead the Pats to the playoffs let alone the super bowl? Who knows. But going off of his mental make up, his talent, and what I’ve seen via typing in “Jarrett Stidham” into YouTube, makes me feel like soon we will be seeing #4 Stidham jerseys walking around New England on autumn weekends for years to come.
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-Connor Ryan (@Connoryan68)