Could a No. 133 draft pick be the ideal replacement for the 199th?
With Tom Brady all but assured of moving on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, barring an unforeseen snag, the New England Patriots will be starting someone other than No. 12, the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft, at the position. At the moment, that new starter will be No. 4, Jarrett Stidham, although the team may take a look at other options, such as Jameis Winston, Cam Newton or Andy Dalton, for instance.
For now, though, Stidham is the next man up.
Here’s some of what we know about Stidham, who was Brady’s backup last season.
Stidham will turn 24 in August, the month in which Brady will turn 43.
The 133rd pick of the 2019 NFL draft, Stidham spent his rookie season backing up Brady, just as Brady started his career on the bench watching Drew Bledsoe.
Stidham stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 215 pounds (Brady comes in at 6-4, 225).
Born in Kentucky, Stidham attended high school in Stephenville, Texas, and committed to Texas Tech before changing his mind and heading to Baylor. He started three games and left when Art Briles was fired in 2016. He spent a semester at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, and didn’t play football, instead practicing with a local high school football team. Then he went to Auburn.
With the Tigers, he had victories over No. 1 teams Georgia and Alabama in an impressive span during his redshirt sophomore year. Without a solid running game as a junior, he regressed. Still, in two seasons, he completed 63.6% of his passes for 5,952 yards and 36 touchdowns. At the college level, he passed for 7,217 yards and 48 touchdowns.
Although he threw only 13 interceptions in college, he had just seven touchdown passes, with five interceptions, in SEC games in 2018. He left college before his senior season.
In New England, Brady has given his backups little chance at game-day experience, save for the 2008 season that Brady missed because of a knee injury suffered in the first quarter of the first game. Most recently, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett got the chance to step in for No. 12 when he served a four-game Deflategate suspension in 2016 and went 3-1.
Stidham, like any young and hungry quarterback, came of age watching Brady.
“I’m a big Tom Brady fan. I don’t necessarily think I play a lot like him. I think I’m more of a . . . shoot, I don’t know, maybe like a Derek Carr kind of guy,” he told reporters at the Manning Passing Academy in June 2018. “Not as mobile as some guys but not immobile as much as a Tom Brady or somebody like that. But, honestly, I love watching Jimmy Garoppolo. I really love how he plays the game. He obviously learned a lot from Tom Brady. I really love watching him and how he plays.”
And he followed Brady’s TB12 diet and fitness program long before he landed in New England. Presumably, that extends to Brady’s go-to treat, avocado ice cream.
“I’ve read his book. I’m always trying to find something, whether it’s nutrition or stretching or just little things outside of actually throwing,” Stidham said in June 2018. “The biggest thing that I’ve worked on now that I’m healthy is nutrition, and I’ve been trying to really get more [flexible] in the hips and really kind of loosen everything up in that area. And I’ve been really focused on my nutrition and my eating habits because it goes a long way.”
Coach Bill Belichick’s assessment of his rookie?
“Jarrett is a smart kid,” he said this past October. “He picks things up very quickly. He has a good grasp of the offense given where he is in his career. He’s handled everything we’ve thrown at him. In practice, he does a good job. He gets a lot of passes on our defense, and when he has the opportunity to get the offensive snaps he’s prepared and does a good job of those.”