24 May Surviving New England: The Stidham Story
Next Man Up
The final weeks of Survivor New England are closing in, and it appears that the big winner of the 2020 offseason is Jarrett Stidham. Some high profile Quarterbacks have reshuffled their locations, and the NFL Draft came and went without New England adding a signal caller. Stidham survived a Free Agency group that included multiple NFL MVPs, Super Bowl level QBs, and an incoming class of rookies that is one of the deeper we have seen in recent years. With only an aging Cam Newton left out there, and the journeyman Brian Hoyer on the roster, it appears the heir apparent to the Goat’s shoes is the 2nd year QB from Auburn via Baylor.
A deeper dive gives us hope that the man who will be named only the second long term starter this millennium will be a change from what they have expected, but could step up and continue to force the rest of the AFC East to compete for a Wildcard spot.
New England has drafted 10 Quarterbacks since they took TB12 in the 2000 Draft:
- 2000, Round 6, Pick 199: Tom Brady, Michigan
- 2002, Round 4, Pick 117: Rohan Davey, LSU
- 2003, Round 6, Pick 201: Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
- 2005, Round 7, Pick 205: Matt Cassel, USC
- 2008, Round 3, Pick 94: Kevin O’Connell, San Diego State
- 2010, Round 7, Pick 250: Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State
- 2011, Round 3, Pick 74: Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
- 2014, Round 2, Pick 64: Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
- 2016, Round 3, Pick 91: Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State
- 2018, Round 7, Pick 219: Danny Etling, LSU
- 2019, Round 4, Pick 133: Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
It is interesting to note that the three most recent Patriots QBs have begun to move away from the pocket passers that have for so long been the bread and butter of New England’s offense. Even before Lamar Jackson ran away with the 2019 NFL MVP, the longest-running Coach/Owner relationship in the NFL had begun to search for the new generation of mobile, high IQ quarterback to lead the team through the evolution. Brissett, Etling, and Stidham are all mobile quarterbacks that work on extending the play.
So what should our expectations be of the newly named starter in New England? Stidham was the 2015 #1 Dual-threat QB going into college, per 24/7 Sports. Coming out of high school Jarret Stidham was heavily recruited by Alabama, and the man once drafted by New England, Kliff Kingsbury, who was with Texas Tech at the time. Arte Briles ultimately won the recruitment battle, where Stidham joined a Corey Coleman led offense to finish the season with a QB Rating of 199.
Following Briles exit at Baylor concluding the 2015 season, Stidham transferred to continue his career at Auburn, and take on the fearful Defenses of the SEC. His production on paper dropped, due to a lackluster receiving corps led by an extremely raw Darius Slayton. Despite a record of just 18-9 in two seasons, he did have highlights that included an Iron Bowl win over National Championship runner up Alabama.
Stidham’s college career fizzled out in his final year where he finished with his lowest completion percentage and yards per attempt. He still managed to hit some interesting metrics across his college career that should give hope for his fantasy value.
- Double-Digit Rushing TD’s
- Career 64% completion percentage
- 48 touchdowns for 13 Int’s
Last Preseason we saw the composure that he can show when playing in the NFL. By having the best preseason of a Belichick drafted QB.
- Stidham: 61-of-90 for 731 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
- Garoppolo: 46-of-79 for 618 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
While it is yet to be seen whether the preseason and college performance can help him exceed his 4th round draft capital, the skillset is present to help him succeed. He has a big arm that can be used downfield, or to deliver the bullet passes underneath required in a New England QB. But, his best quality, as described by Kliff Kingsbury, sounds eerily familiar.
“I have actually known Jarrett Stidham a long time. I recruited Jarrett Stidham to Texas Tech. He was committed to me for about a year, and so I have always had a high regard of him as a player and as a person… Tremendous thrower of the football. Really comes out clean. I remember watching him when he was 16 years old and the ball jumped out of his hand at that age. Very accurate… He has a cool, calm confidence about himself. Doesn’t try too hard around the guys. They like that, they like being around him, they gravitate towards him. And that always struck me, just kind of how he carries himself.” said the Arizona Cardinals Head Coach.
Ultimately, it will be his long term play that defines him. He replaces a legend and an era which saw a run of 9 Super Bowls in 20 years. Even one Super Bowl appearance would be considered a success by 31 other teams. People forget that Stidham was a prolific dual threat performer prior to college, showing prowess with the legs. He has a history of being ranked above Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, and Sam Darnold, and has seemingly earned the confidence and trust of his head coach. This should all give hope that the passing of the baton may be a more seamless transition than anyone could have anticipated.
Mark is an avid Fantasy Football enthusiast who hails from Sydney, Australia. He will be contributing dynasty content for Expand The Boxscore.