With Tom Brady gone, the New England Patriots have some major questions under center. Yet Jarrett Stidham should be the clear-cut option to start at quarterback in 2020.
One option for the New England Patriots this offseason is to look early at a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. This is something ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. recently suggested would happen in his latest mock draft.
While this is entirely possible, as head coach Bill Belichick looks to find a true heir apparent to now-Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, the first option Belichick needs to consider is quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
If anything, Stidham should get the starting nod this upcoming season.
There’s a bit of competition here, yes. Veteran signal-caller Brian Hoyer was brought back for his third term in New England, and he could potentially challenge Stidham for the starting role. Cody Kessler is also in the mix, too.
Yet the 23-year-old Stidham, who was selected in Round 4 of the 2019 NFL Draft, is the one who needs to get the first looks. After all, it was he who secured the roster spot behind Brady and over Hoyer last year, indicating Belichick is already leaning in that direction.
There’s more to the thought process of just naming a name, though.
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky was one who touted Stidham’s pocket presence, citing how well and fluid the former Auburn quarterback looked while under center. This is crucial for a developing quarterback, as the seemingly “sixth sense” recognition of pressure off the edges and out of sight can be crucial in determining his eventual success.
On top of that, Stidham fits the mold for the kind of throws Brady was asked to make in recent seasons: short- and intermediate-area throws within the ranges of 5 to 20 yards downfield. Beyond that, things get a little more questionable. But if New England wants to go back to an offense where a short-area passing game is a mere extension of the ground offense, Stidham is the guy to do it.
These are traits Hoyer can struggle with, as our friends over at Niners Nation pointed out during Hoyer’s brief tenure there.
Granted, Hoyer has far more experience. But Stidham arguably has more of an upside, especially from the developmental aspects.
Tack on his solid performances during the 2019 preseason — going 61-of-90 for 731 yards, four touchdowns against one interception for a passer rating of 102.6 in four games — in four games, and you can see why the prime chance to start is warranted for the second-year pro.
True, these are preseason stats. But those numbers are what young quarterbacks should strive for, especially if they have sights set on starting sooner than later.