Jarrett Stidham is an unknown quantity entering his second NFL season.

Yet that might not stop Bill Belichick from handing him the keys to the New England Patriots’ offense in 2020.

Stidham figures to compete with journeyman Brian Hoyer for New England’s starting quarterback job in wake of Tom Brady’s departure. And while the 2019 fourth-round pick has very limited experience, attempting just four passes in his rookie season, multiple NFL scouts told Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes that Stidham has the mental makeup and physical tools to be successful with the Patriots.

“Knowing Bill, he’s excited about taking this big ball of clay and molding it into his image,” one scout reportedly said. “I’ve always thought Stidham was way undervalued as a fourth-round pick. I begged our guys to take him. He has so much more ability than he was able to show in college.”

“He’s a lot closer to playoff quarterback than another guy who falls on his face replacing a legend,” another scout told Hayes.

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Obviously, replacing Brady is near impossible. We’re talking about a six-time Super Bowl champion and the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He’s the definition of a legend.

This isn’t about that, though. Instead, it’s about finding the right fit — someone who can work cohesively alongside Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, motivate his teammates, adhere to the Patriot Way and ultimately give New England a chance to remain competitive in the AFC East moving forward.

Stidham, the 133rd overall pick in 2019, so far seems capable of checking all of those boxes. He even might have been a first-round pick last year had Auburn used him differently in 2017 and 2018 after his transfer from Baylor.

“He had first-round talent that was mucked up by a system that didn’t fit him,” a scout told Hayes. “He looked good at the Senior Bowl. He looked good at the combine. But we’re a tape-is-your-resume league. And that tape at Auburn had some brutal stretches. Enough to make a lot of personnel departments push him down — and in some cases, off — draft boards.”

Maybe Stidham, who turns 24 in August, won’t have what it takes and New England eventually will be forced to go in a different direction. But for now, Belichick might be best served seeing what the kid can do as the Patriots enter a season without Brady as their starting QB for the first time since 2001.

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