Jarrett Stidham

Patriots Sign Jarrett Stidham, Three Other Draft Picks

The day after signing Benjamin Watson, the Patriots have wrapped up most of their draft class. The team announced the signing of four of their remaining picks today. After inking second round pick Joejuan Williams and two others yesterday, only first round receiver N’Keal Harry and third-rounders defensive end Chase Winovich and running back Damien Harris remain unsigned.

  • 4-118: OL Hjalte Froholdt (Arkansas)
  • 4-133: QB Jarrett Stidham (Auburn)
  • 5-163: P Jake Bailey (Stanford)
  • 7:252: CB Ken Webster (Ole Miss)

The Patriots’ drafting of Stidham of course raised some eyebrows because of the position he plays. Stidham had a down year at Auburn in 2018, but many observers chalked that up more to the poor offense he was playing in rather than anything he was doing wrong. After his 2017 season the former Baylor transfer was thought of as a potential Day 2 pick, but his stock took a bit of a tumble last year. 

He’ll now get the chance to develop behind Tom Brady, and could potentially position himself as the heir apparent if he shows well. The Patriots have drafted a handful of quarterbacks in recent years, as early as the second round with Jimmy Garoppolo back in 2014. They drafted Jacoby Brissett in the third round in 2016, and both quarterbacks ended up getting traded.

Bailey was a bit of a surprising pick in the fifth round because the Patriots already had an established punter. Ryan Allen has been the team’s punter since 2013, and he just recently re-signed with the team in March. The drafting of Bailey so early would seem to suggest they aren’t entirely sold on Allen.

Froholdt is a Denmark native who has a lot of experience at both guard and center. New England has invested heavily at center this offseason, and Froholdt could be a nice developmental piece.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Notes: Giants, Haskins, Metcalf

The Giants will host Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins on a top 30 visit on Monday and Tuesday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). After the G-Men brought out the big guns for Haskins’ Pro Day, chatter is building about the Giants possibly targeting the signal caller with the No. 6 overall pick.

Fully expected to become a top-10 pick, Haskins also met with the Broncos (No. 10) and the Redskins (No. 15) last week. The Giants appear to be well in range, but teams tend to move up and reach for stud QBs. The Giants also have the firepower necessary to move up for Oklahoma star Kyler Murray, but they may prefer to spread the wealth and address other areas instead, including the pass rush.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf visited the Ravens on Monday, Rapoport tweets. Metcalf could give them a much-needed shot in the arm at WR, but it’s not a given that he’ll be available when they’re called to the podium at No. 22. For now, their WR consists of new addition Seth Roberts, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, and 2018 draft picks Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott.
  • Speaking of the Ravens‘ WR need, they’ll host Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown on Monday, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). This year, the Ravens are set to pick at No. 22 overall with no picks in the second round due to last year’s Lamar Jackson trade.
  • More from Rapoport, who notes that Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell is visiting with the Bengals. Campbell is a very unlikely target for Cincinnati at No. 11 overall, but he could be a candidate for their second-round choice at No. 42. Last year, Campbell broke out with 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns.
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary will huddle up with the Seahawks and Raiders this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.
  • Arizona State wide receiver will meet with the N’Keal Harry 49ers on Monday before traveling to the Seahawks, Pelissero hears. Projections for Harry are all over the board, but he appears to be a late-first to early-second round type.
  • Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit the Seahawks on Monday and the Falcons on Tuesday, Schefter hears (Twitter link). The Falcons’ No. 14 pick would probably be a bit high for McGary, who projects as a right tackle at the next level, but a trade-down scenario could bring him to Atlanta.
  • The Patriots have done “extra pre-draft” work on Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson, both of whom visited recently (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Versatile Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford spent Friday visiting with the Bengals, who pick No. 11 (Twitter link via Rapoport). Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Bucs, Lions, Giants

Could the Panthers be in the market for a backup quarterback? They’re meeting with Auburn signal-caller Jarrett Stidham today, while Carolina has spent “considerable time” with West Virginia’s Will Grier, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter links). Cam Newton missed two starts last season, and the Panthers were subsequently forced to rely on unproven options like Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen under center. Head coach Ron Rivera indicated earlier this year that Carolina would likely eschew a veteran quarterback addition in favor of utilizing the draft, but as Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer tweets, it’s unclear how high of a pick the Panther are willing to use in order to land Newton’s new backup. Stidham, meanwhile, has also visited the Giants, per Pelissero.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns‘ next visit will be with the Buccaneers, as he noted on Chris Simms Unbuttoned (link via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk). After sitting down with Tampa Bay, Burns is expected to meet with the Lions, Giants, and Colts, the latter of whom has shown the most interest in Burns thus far. The ex-Seminole could come off the board within the top-10 selections of the draft, and he’s viewed as one of the best pass rushers in the 2019 class. After posting 23 sacks and 38.5 tackles for loss during his collegiate career, Burns tested like an elite athlete at the scouting combine.
  • Giants head coach Pat Shurmur prefers a veteran backup behind starting quarterback Eli Manning, as Ryan Dunleacy of NJ.com writes. New York re-signed Alex Tanney last month, and if he’s set to serve as the club’s No. 2 signal-caller, 2018 fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta‘s roster spot could be in danger, especially if the Giants select a quarterback early in the upcoming draft. Big Blue spoke repeatedly about inserting Lauletta into game action last season, but he ultimately attempted only five passes (all of which were incomplete and one of which was intercepted) in Week 13. He was subsequently deactivated for the next two contests. Lauletta’s late October arrest probably doesn’t help his roster chances, either.
  • More Alliance of American Football veterans could be heading to the NFL. The Vikings worked out linebacker Davis Tull on Wednesday, tweets Pelissero, and will audition linebacker Greer Martini on Thursday, per Rob Demovsky of NFL.com (Twitter link). More than 40 AAF alums have landed NFL contracts since the fledgling league folded, and Tull and/or Martini could force that number to rise. Tull, notably, was a fifth-round pick of the Saints in 2015 but has yet to appear in an NFL game.

Draft Rumors: Redskins, Bills, Jets, Eagles

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones will meet with the Redskins today and tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Washington will also sit down with Northwestern signal-caller Clayton Thorson on Wednesday, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, adding that fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock (Missouri) and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) have already visited with the Redskins. Washington is looking at nearly all the top QB prospects, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the status of Alex Smith‘s knee injury. Smith isn’t expected to play in 2019, and while the Redskins have already acquired veteran Case Keenum, the club is searching for a long-term option to place under center.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • The Bills are hosting Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown Wednesday, while Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen‘s meeting with Buffalo will occur on Thursday, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Although the Bills invested in pass-catching help during free agency, adding both John Brown and Cole Beasley on multi-year deals to a depth chart that already included Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the team is still in need of receivers. Brown (6’1″, 225) posted at least 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, and six touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, isn’t likely to be available for Buffalo at No. 9 overall, but the club could potentially trade up given that it owns the sixth-most draft capital.
  • Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is meeting with the Jets, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Gang Green ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ run-blocking metric in 2018 (and 18th in pass-blocking), but so far the club has only addressed its offensive line by acquiring guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. New York’s tackle situation has remained unchanged, with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell projected to start on the left and right sides, respectively. Williams is expected to come off the board early in Round 1.
  • The Bengals met with Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite last week, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Cincinnati has edge depth with Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Kerry Wynn in tow, but Polite would give the team another option.
  • TCU defensive end L.J. Collier is meeting with the Lions, Eagles, and Seahawks, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds Collier is “quietly pushing” to become a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com currently ranks Collier as the No. 45 prospect, noting that while he isn’t an “elite bender,” Collier has the ability to play both inside and on the edge. In his senior season with TCU, Collier posted six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.

Extra Points: 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham, Lock, Redskins, Phillips, Seahawks, Fluker, Sweezy

The NFL combine is right around the corner, and the draft isn’t too far away. With that in mind, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report spoke to some league talent evaluators, and had a few interesting nuggets on the quarterbacks in this year’s class. A “lead AFC personnel man” told Miller that Missouri quarterback Drew Lock “really helped himself” during this week’s Senior Bowl practices, and could be the top quarterback selected this April.

The same personnel guy told Miller that Duke quarterback Daniel Jones helped himself as well, and that his mechanics looked good in practice. Miller writes that Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham also boosted his stock this week, and that three scouts told him Stidham could even climb into the end of the first round. Stidham has been projected as a Day 2 guy in most mock drafts, so that would be a pretty significant leap for him.

Here’s more from around the league this Friday night:

  • The Redskins made a coaching move this evening, and it could end up impacting the Rams. Washington hired Brian Angelichio to be their tight ends coach, the team announced in a tweet, and he’ll be replacing Wes Phillips on Jay Gruden’s staff. Phillips is the son of NFL-lifer and current Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Phillips is a “potential fit” in Los Angeles. Rapsheet notes that the Rams will be in need of a quarterbacks coach when Zac Taylor officially departs to become the Bengals’ new head coach, and notes that Phillips will be “one to watch.” Wade has become one of the funniest and most personable coordinators in the league the past couple of years, and a Phillips family reunion would be a lot of fun.
  • The Seahawks’ offensive line was a big part of their success this year, as they helped pave the way for their first productive ground game in years. Now Seattle will have to make some decisions on whether they want to keep last year’s line intact. Starting guards D.J. Fluker and J.R Sweezy are both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this spring, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes that the team “would like to keep both and will work to get that done.” Both players received below average grades from Pro Football Focus, but Seattle was apparently happy enough with their play.
  • In case you missed it, an update on the latest assistant coaching moves.

Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham Enters NFL Draft

Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham is going pro. This week, the QB took to Twitter to announce that he’ll forgo his final season of eligibility in order to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

[RELATED: Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown To Enter NFL Draft]

Jarrett has been a terrific player for us the last two years, leading us to an SEC West title and becoming one of the most prolific passers in Auburn history,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “He has tremendous ability and a bright future ahead of him. I look forward to seeing Jarrett perform one more time in an Auburn uniform and can’t wait to see him playing in the NFL next year and for years to come.”

Stidham first made a name for himself at Baylor, where he threw for 12 touchdowns against just two interceptions as a true freshman in 2015. After head coach Art Briles was let go, he transferred to Auburn, where he had an up-and-down tenure. Last year, he led Auburn to an SEC championship game appearance, but he failed to build off of that momentum in 2018.

Heading into the year, Stidham looked the part of a second-round pick with the potential to work his way into the backend of the first-round. Today, he ranks just tenth among QBs, according to Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com. However, it’s possible that Stidham could boost his stock with strong workouts and interviews in the buildup to the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.