FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It's never a bad idea to search for Tom Brady's replacement. On Saturday, the Patriots added a potential name to the mix.
In the fourth round, with pick 133, the Patriots selected quarterback Jarrett Stidham of Auburn.
Stidham is a 6-foot-2, 218-pound quarterback who's a good athlete. He's also said to have a good football IQ and throwing mechanics. He's coming off a tough season where he threw 2,794 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions to go with a 61 completion percentage.
It was a step back for Stidham, who was the SEC newcomer of the year in 2017. That season, he threw 3,158 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions to go with a 66.5 completion percentage. He earned Second-team All-SEC honors, his first as Auburn's starter. Stidham also rushed for nine total touchdowns in his collegiate career, which started at Baylor in 2015.
At Baylor, Stidham threw for 1,265 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions as a freshman. He left Baylor after the firing of coach Art Briles. He spent the next season as a student at McLennan Community College, but didn't play. Still, Stidham was ranked the No. 1 JUCO quarterback before committing to Auburn.
Stidham joins the long line of drafted quarterbacks who will eventually try to unseat Brady, who turns 42. The Patriots have now drafted four quarterbacks in the last six drafts – Jimmy Garoppolo (second round in 2014), Jacoby Brissett (third round in 2016) and Danny Etling (seventh round in 2018). Other quarterbacks who were drafted after Brady were Rohan Davey, Kliff Kingsbury, Matt Cassel, Kevin O'Connell, Zac Robinson and Ryan Mallett.
It became clear that the Patriots were searching for another quarterback in this draft class. Stidham was one of four quarterbacks to come to Gillette Stadium for a pre-draft visit this month. After passing on Drew Lock in round two, Will Grier in round three and Ryan Finley, who was drafted early in round four, the Patriots added Stidham, who was the seventh quarterback drafted.
Stidham joins a crowded quarterback room in Foxboro with Brady, Brian Hoyer and Etling. After he signs his four-year rookie deal, he'll at least have one season to learn behind both Brady and Hoyer, who's an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
For the Patriots, the path to replace Brady is clear – add as many quarterbacks to the mix as possible. They gave the future Hall-of-Famer solid competition with Garoppolo, but Brady more than outlasted Jimmy G. They added Brissett next, but traded him to Indianapolis after a year. Last year, they took a flyer on Etling, but he spent the 2018 season on the Patriots practice squad.
Next up is Stidham. If Brady is going to play until he's 45, that'll give the Patriots the length of Stidham's rookie contract to see if he has what it takes to be the Patriots next starting quarterback. Of course, if they don't like what they see, don't be surprised if another quarterback is drafted again.