Patriots Mailbag: How High Are Pats On Jarrett Stidham At Quarterback?

Commissioner Roger Goodell was smart, and the NFL was correct.

It was a good decision to move forward with the 2020 NFL Draft.

Media members and NFL decision-makers were pressuring the league to delay the draft, but I never quite understood the purpose. It was a good distraction to have the draft go on as scheduled, and I certainly had fun watching the event and writing about the New England Patriots’ picks.

Now, hopefully, the NFL can figure out a safe way to go on with the 2020 season.

Let’s get into this week’s jam-packed mailbag. Watch above and read below.

@jspinato8
Hi Doug. Can you please help everyone understand why the Pats are where they are with respect to QB currently. It seems like many in the fan base just can grasp it and I’m tired of the Dalton/Cam/Every QB in the draft they could’ve had tweets. Thanks and have a great day.
Here’s what I wrote after the NFL Scouting Combine:

“What we do know is that (Jarrett) Stidham would be a better choice next season than overdrafting a player like Jordan Love or Jacob Eason when no one knows if they’ll even be better than Stidham long term.”

I stand by that.

Here’s another nugget: I was told after the draft that the Patriots like Stidham more than they liked Jimmy Garoppolo. And I know what you’re thinking: “typical Patriots spin.”

That ain’t it. This isn’t coming from someone who stands to gain anything by pumping up the Patriots.

We’ll find out if the team is right to believe that or not. But it’s not insane. Stidham was a very highly-touted quarterback prospect after his first two starting seasons in college. His junior year was a bit of a disaster because Auburn’s offense was a mess. He still managed to show some potential.

But if that junior season had gone more favorably, then Stidham would have wound up being a first- or second-round pick rather than a fourth.

Stidham played well in the preseason, and he continued to improve in practice throughout the regular season. The Patriots have only grown to like Stidham more since drafting him.

So, why are the Patriots going to give up on a player they think might be better than Garoppolo for a veteran QB like Cam Newton or Andy Dalton? Newton is a great player. Is he definitely better than Garoppolo right this second after missing most of the 2019 season? Dalton has more upside as a backup than Brian Hoyer. But in an ideal world, is he beating out Stidham? Not a chance.

I never thought drafting Jordan Love was realistic in the first round. And the Patriots weren’t going to take Jalen Hurts over their second-round pick Kyle Dugger.

So, for now, they’re rolling with Stidham. After years of spending top salary capital on a quarterback, the Patriots are using up less than $1.9 million worth of cap space on Stidham and Hoyer. That makes a world of sense while the Patriots are up against the cap.

The Patriots have now not re-signed Tom Brady, passed on trading for Nick Foles, didn’t sign Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum, Phillip Rivers, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, have shown no interest in Newton and didn’t draft Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason, James Morgan or Jake Fromm.

What further proof do you need that the Patriots really, really like Stidham?

@offroadtjnh
Bill Parcells on the Pats hall of fame- you in or out? I am out on it. Reason- He became a selfish baby before and after the superbowl, which affected the results- it was all about him. No thanks #MailDoug
I’m not a Patriots Hall of Fame voter, but I’m out on Bill Parcells getting inducted.

Ultimately, the Patriots Hall of Fame is for the fans. And if the fans don’t want him in, then who would his induction be for? Does Bill Parcells care if he’s in the Patriots Hall of Fame? Probably not. He’s a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Can you tell the story of the Patriots without Parcells? Maybe not. But that’s why people like Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law and other players from that 1990’s era are in the hall.

Ultimately, I’m not sure who’s supposed to care that Parcells isn’t in the hall of fame. If it’s not the fans, and if it’s not Parcells, then what’s the point?

My vote is for Richard Seymour. I find it slightly embarrassing that the best defensive player from the Patriots’ first dynasty hasn’t been enshrined yet.

@KStandleyMedia
Do you expect to see the 2019 draft class featured a lot more this year? The likes of Williams, Cajuste, Harris & Froholdt barely saw the field last season for differing reasons and could be a real boost to the team. #MailDoug #Patriots
Definitely. The Patriots don’t just need a lot of production from that year’s class, but this year’s class, too.

N’Keal Harry, Jarrett Stidham and Chase Winovich should be starters this season. Yodny Cajuste and Hjalte Froholdt are projected top backups on the offensive line. The jury is still out on Joejuan Williams, Damien Harris and Byron Cowart, but all three players could take on bigger roles in 2020 despite appearing to be buried on the depth chart. Cowart could take on a bigger role with Danny Shelton gone. Plus Jake Bailey is the Patriots’ punter.

The Patriots’ 2019 draft has a chance to be a franchise-changer. If they wind up getting a starting quarterback, wide receiver and pass rusher out of one class, that’s a success. Cajuste has the potential to eventually be a starting offensive tackle, as well.

More Patriots: Post-Draft 53-Man Roster Projection

@BryanThiel_88
The draft/UDFA signings seemed to focus on players that had kick/punt return experience. Do you think the lack of depth last year provided a spring board to that this year? #MailDoug
I don’t think it’s necessarily a coincidence. The Patriots got almost nothing out of Brandon Bolden as a kick returner in 2019. They struggled to fill the punt return job after Gunner Olszewski hit injured reserve.

Patriots second-round pick Kyle Dugger could wind up being the top punt returner. He returned 67 punts for 929 yards with six touchdowns and 10 kicks for 196 yards at Lenoir-Rhyne.

UDFA wide receiver Sean Riley returned 115 kicks for 2,433 yards and 50 punts for 563 yards with a touchdown at Syracuse.

UDFA wide receiver Jeff Thomas returned 54 kicks for 1,219 yards and 14 punts for 265 yards with a touchdown at Miami.

UDFA wide receiver Isaiah Zuber returned 33 kicks for 513 yards and 11 punts for 180 yards with a touchdown at Mississippi State and Kansas State.

UDFA running back J.J. Taylor returned 41 kicks for 988 yards with a touchdown and three punts for 26 yards at Arizona.

That’s five returners with at least one touchdown in college. That’s fairly significant.

The return competition will be fierce once the Patriots congregate for practice, whenever that might be. And the Patriots seemingly won’t be caught scrambling for returners in 2020.

@offbrand_homie
Who do you see as potentially Stidham’s best receiver (including TE) going into the season? If it’s a veteran, which of the rookies are his best option?
Well, it has to be Julian Edelman, right? I do think that Stidham should have better chemistry with Harry and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers than Brady did in 2019. Mohamed Sanu also should be better next season than he was after coming to the Patriots midway through the 2019 season.

I’m still going with Edelman, age and injury concerns be damned.

Let’s go rapid fire.

@ToddSchofield22
Do the Patriots carry three QB this season? If so who will it be?
I’m going to guess no. If the Patriots do carry an extra one, I’m going with Louisiana Tech’s J’Mar Smith. I think he has potential.

@leftyjeb
I can’t find a lot of relevant info on Yodny Cajuste. Is he a high ceiling option? Also- last time Scar wasn’t there, it was a disaster. What’s preventing that again?
I think Cajuste would have gone higher than the third round if he didn’t have a quad injury before last year’s draft. So, yes, he is. I think he could be the future starting right tackle.

It was kind of a disaster, but the Patriots did still win a Super Bowl. I think the Patriots are in better shape with Cole Popovich or Carmen Bricillo as offensive line coach than they were with Dave DeGuglielmo in 2014, however. Popovich and Bricillo actually have been on the Patriots’ staff working with Dante Scarnecchia. DeGuglielmo was brand new.

@AxelEXP
Based on salary, who are the guys with the highest chance of making the team as an undrafted free agent.
Linebackers De’Jon Harris and Kyahba Tezino.

@zacxwolf
How is it already Thursday?
This week did fly by.

But now it’s Friday.

@ToddSchofield22
Who is the surprise cut/release/trade by Patriots?
The Patriots are very well-stocked at safety. So, that might be where I’d start to look.

I’d also like to mention that there isn’t always a surprise trade/cut, right? I always get asked this, and then I feel like there’s rarely an actually surprising trade or cut. Maybe I’m wrong.

@thisryanjackson
Sup?
Currently watching this:

If you haven’t been watching, then start with Episode 1.

@sebbehn
@DougKyed Please rank your top ten quarantine favorite chips. #MailDoug
I’m not sure if I can do a Top 10, but cheddar sour cream Ruffles are up there. Those have been my go-to. Jalapeno Pringles were also a good choice.

I might do a Doug’s Buds this week, and I’ll show you the WORST chips for quarantine.

@ToddSchofield22
Who starts at TE on Game 1?
I’ll take a chance and say Devin Asiasi.

@ToddSchofield22
What is the Patriots final record after this season?
That’s tough. Maybe 10-6?

@devon_paquette
Do you think the patriots might bring in another kicker to compete with the guy we drafted?
I think they should. Handing the reins to a rookie would be bold.

@MMMX_R
Does Bill take a look at vinateiri as a camp body which also means he could retire as a patriot?
I like that idea. It’s doubtful. But I like where your head is at.

@BurnerLeon
Over under 16.5 defensive players on the pats will see 30% of snaps or more
It was 14 players last year, so I’d go under.

@dpwiebe
Why don’t they trade Thuney? Is he really worth $14 million per year? #MailDoug
No, but the two sides could still reach an extension.

@MattJMurray84
Would you rather see Jarrett Stidham play QB lefthanded than see Dalton take the field for the Pats? I would.
That might be fun to watch at least.

@sebbehn
@DougKyed Doug, legit post- draft question. Some people seem mad Pats didn’t reach out for Herbert. To your knowledge, has there ever been a QB even moderately successful in the NFL at 6’6” or taller ? #MailDoug

Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl.

Justin Herbert is also more mobile than most 6-foot-6 quarterbacks.

More Patriots: What To Expect From 2020 NFL Draft Picks