Six quarterbacks went ahead of Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham in the 2019 NFL draft.
The transfer from Baylor went No. 133 overall to the New England Patriots, trailing North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley, West Virginia’s Will Grier, Missouri’s Drew Lock, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Duke’s Daniel Jones and top pick Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma.
Would a different spring have resulted in a different standing for Stidham?
It’s a question NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah fielded Wednesday on WEEI’s Dale & Keefe.
“He was a tricky evaluation because I had seen him throw live,” said Jeremiah, a former QB at Appalachian State who scouted for the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. “I went and watched him as a counselor at the Elite 11 in Los Angeles and saw him throw with all the top college kids. I thought he threw it better than all of them.”
Stidham would complete 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,265 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions as a Baylor true freshman under Art Briles. After spending 2016 at McLennan Community College, he earned SEC Newcomer of the Year and second-team All-SEC honors as a redshirt sophomore at Auburn.
Stidham finished 470-of-739 passing over two seasons as the starter for Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn. The Iron Bowl winner and Music City Bowl MVP accrued 5,952 yards for 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
“I thought he had tremendous ability, but he played in that goofy offense at Auburn, which didn’t do him any favors,” Jeremiah told WEEI. “And so, he was a tough evaluation. But talent-wise, he was impressive.”
A team captain who had one year of eligibility remaining, Stidham took part in the Reese’s Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine on the way to the fourth round. The 23-year-old would go on to appear in three contests as a rookie after leading the AFC in preseason passing yards.
As the page turns, Stidham is joined by veteran Brian Hoyer on the current Patriots depth chart.
“I would say last year I had him in probably that third-round range,” Jeremiah said of the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Stidham. “And then this year I would say, if you just go off of talent, I mean, he’d be in the conversation as the fourth or fifth guy.”
The 2020 first round projects to include four quarterbacks in LSU’s Joe Burrow, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love.
New England holds the rights to No. 23 overall.