SportsPulse: The NFL draft is over. The landscape and rosters in the AFC are pretty much set. Trysta Krick looks ahead to the storylines that will define the 2019 season for ever team in the NFC.
The New England Patriots picked a quarterback Saturday. What that means remains to be seen.
Near the end of the fourth round of the NFL draft, with the 133rd selection overall, the reigning Super Bowl champions selected Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham — who’s actually the ninth quarterback Bill Belichick and Co. have taken since Tom Brady quietly arrived with the 199th pick of the 2000 draft.
Normally, a passer coming off the board in Round 4 wouldn’t generate much hubbub. But the Patriots’ drafting acumen combined with Brady’s advancing age (he’ll be 42 in August) and fact backup Brian Hoyer is unsigned beyond 2019 makes this a story worth monitoring.
Stidham’s college career began at Baylor, but he transferred in the wake of the school’s sexual abuse scandal and firing of coach Art Briles after what was also an injury-plagued freshman season. During his two seasons at Auburn, Stidham completed 63.6% of his passes for 5,952 yards with 36 TDs and 11 INTs.
He quietly had a very impressive showing at the scouting combine in February, impressing several observers with his throwing session and posting a not unimpressive 4.81 40 time.
Stidham (6-2, 218 pounds) comes in the mold of a classic drop-back pro passer, fairly accurate and someone who can operate from under center, his mobility a nice bonus. He has a reputation for being a smart guy who generally makes good decisions on the field and throws a nice ball with good touch even if he can’t necessarily fire it through a brick wall — quite a few traits that sound reminiscent of a certain six-time Super Bowl champion.
“Tom Brady is obviously a great player and, from what I’ve heard, a great teammate. So I’m just looking forward to spending some time with him,” said Stidham. “Just being able to sit there and soak up everything that he’s gone through and pick his brain here and there about different things. … It’s going to be great and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Brady, who’s currently under contract for one more year himself, has openly expressed a desire to play into his mid-forties. Even though New England’s offense became more reliant on the run late last season, he hasn’t shown any signs that suggest an immediate dropoff is forthcoming.
But with Stidham presumably coming to Foxborough for at least the next four years, maybe he winds up as the heir apparent that Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, Matt Cassel and others ultimately were not.
But Stidham doesn’t seem to be feeling any of that pressure.
“I’m sure everybody wants to be as good as Tom Brady one day,” he said. “I’ve got to take it one day at a time, and that’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to work as absolutely hard as I can to make sure I can do whatever it is to help this organization out.”
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