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Jarrett Stidham: the Starting-Caliber QB No One is Talking About (Yet)

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Music City Bowl-Auburn vs Purdue Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Jarrett Stidham, QB
School: Auburn | Conference: SEC
College Experience: RS Junior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 215lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd-4th round
NFL Comparison: Derek Carr

College Statistics


Player Overview

Jarrett Stidham has had a roller coaster collegiate career, to say the least. He was the number one dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school in Texas. Stidham committed to Baylor where he played under then-rockstar head coach Art Briles. As a true freshman, he played in 10 games, throwing for 12 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and 1,265 yards with a 69% completion percentage and 11.6 Y/A. In short, he looked liked an upcoming star.

After the Baylor scandal that pretty much nuked their football program, Stidham transferred to JUCO for a year. He then transferred to Auburn to restart his college career. In 2017, he was named second team All-SEC and SEC Newcomer of the Year. Stidham was a projected first-round pick by some, but he decided to return to Auburn for his redshirt junior season. 2018 was a hugely disappointing season for Auburn as a team. Stidham’s stats declined, but didn’t crater. Auburn lacked 1) talented weapons on offense and 2) offensive adaptability; many blamed head coach Gus Malzahn for their woes.

Stidham is a talented player with an impressive pedigree, but has failed to capture the attention of the draft community largely due to issues out of his control.

Strengths

  • Throws a catchable ball with nice touch and anticipation; plenty of zip, but doesn’t possess a cannon
  • Good accuracy to place the ball where he wants on a receiver or lead him between zones; above-average deep ball accuracy
  • Plus athleticism as a quarterback; multi-sport athlete (basketball, track); can do damage with his legs
  • Quality size and build, although not prototypical
  • Recognized as a leader by coaches, teammates, named team captain and made decision to play in final bowl game


Weaknesses

  • Often panics when initial look isn’t there; can lead to negative plays or careless turnovers
  • Happy feet in the pocket causes poor accuracy and delivery mechanics — needs to slow his footwork down and maintain a stable platform


Media


How He’d Fit on the Redskins

A lot of the negative traits scouts attribute to Stidham can be explained, in part, by the predictability of Auburn’s offense. Head coach Gus Malzahn is a huge fan of receiver screens and shot plays, which meant when the initial look was covered, the quarterback often had nowhere to go with the ball. This lead to Stidham either taking a negative play or forcing throws, shoddy pocket presence and a sped-up internal clock.

There were bright spots, though, and Stidham showed he could continually move the ball despite the offense’s limitations. In his final college game, Stidham & Co. throttled Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl, and he threw for 373 yards and five touchdowns.

For all the flak that Gruden gets, I think he is a better passing game coordinator than Malzahn and has answers built into his offense. He can also work with Stidham’s athletic ability to move him outside the pocket. He’s exhibited good leadership qualities in two years at Auburn to lead a group of men. At worst I see Stidham sticking around as a backup, and his ceiling is a mid-level starter in the NFL.