Alternatively, former Alabama signal-caller and No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa has long been regarded as one of the most talented quarterback prospects in football.
However, NBC football analyst Chris Simms thinks Stidham is every bit as talented as Tagovailoa.
Simms called Tagovailoa a “creation of Alabama,” a school that routinely churns out first-round draft picks. Simms also added the Patriots' belief in Stidham gives him the benefit of the doubt (via the Miami Herald):
Stidham “is more talented than Tua,” Simms said Wednesday morning on WEEI sports radio. “Tua is a creation of Alabama. You don’t think Jarrett Stidham, or like Justin Herbert, would have set the world on fire if they got to play with four first-round receivers and two first-round tackles?”
Simms’ explanation gave some insight into his recently released quarterback rankings, which slotted Tagovailoa in at No. 40 and Stidham at No. 35. He later noted the Patriots’ confidence in the 2019 fourth-round pick had some influence on his analysis.
“I could be off on Stidham. He could be way greater than what I say, way off. I am not saying my list is in stone, but my list has been pretty good the last few years, and I certainly like the potential of Jarrett Stidham, what I saw in college and he was very impressive in the preseason. The fact that New England likes him, makes me like him, too.”
Both Stidham and Tagovailoa will have the chance to compete for the starting job in camp, though the Miami Dolphins seem content giving Tua a year to develop.
Stidham was a two-year starter at Auburn prior to the Pats selecting him in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
But coaches and teammates alike have had high praise for his intangibles, and this year will be a critical proving ground as the Pats prepare for life without Tom Brady.