Jarrett Stidham turning heads at Patriots camp

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  • By Jelani Scott NFL.com
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Eighteen years ago, young Tom Brady replaced a seasoned QB to become the leader of the New England Patriots. And, while it's still way too early to tell, rookie Jarrett Stidham is beginning to look like he could do something very similar.

On the heels of an impressive 8-for-8 performance during Tuesday's joint practice between the Pats and Lions, Stidham further demonstrated how far he's come since reporting with the rest of the rookies on July 21.

No, there aren't any reports claiming the 22-year-old Stidham will replace the 42-year-old Brady, who reportedly had a less than stellar practice, any time soon, but it's interesting to watch how the 2019 fourth-round pick's star has risen during camp.

According to Andrew Callahan of MassLive.com, Stidham's 68-percent completion rate through 10 practices trumps Brady's by 10 notches, a positive sign for the former Auburn star and New England's hopes of finding an eventual heir apparent.

"He's getting more comfortable. He has a live arm, can make any throw. I like Jarrett. It's the National Football League, and he's young," said receiver Phillip Dorsett, who's been with the Pats since 2017. "Coming in here is tough. A lot of stuff gets thrown at you really fast and changes on the move, so you have to be able to adjust. He's doing all right."

Bill Belichick said Tuesday, per Callahan, that early practices are usually the hardest because the team's playbook is constantly rotating and expanding. But Stidham isn't shrinking. He's thriving.

"He's got good command. It's tough being a quarterback on any team, especially on our offense," said running back James White, a Pat since 2014. "There's a lot you have to know. He's trying to put the work in, trying to learn as much as possible, and all of the young guys and us veterans are trying to make him feel comfortable and make some plays for him."

Stidham, who was a four-star high school recruit, already knows about adjusting. He was a backup at Baylor up until the seventh game of his freshman season when a season-ending injury to starter Seth Russell paved the way for him. As fate would have it, an injury would sideline him after his third start and he would eventually transfer and join the Tigers in the ever-so-challenging SEC.

Following his redshirt year, he arrived as the starter from Day 1 in 2017 and put together an impressive two-year run for the Tigers. He projected as the seventh-best QB prospect in 2019, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, and managed to fall right in the range he was predicted to.

Now, the constantly adjusting Stidham has worked his way into an impressive position, playing with quality skill-position talent during 11-on-11 drills and earning some second-team reps over current QB2 Brian Hoyer.

Yes, like all rookies, he's still growing but early talk out of Pats camp suggests that Stidham could be coming for Hoyer's -- and perhaps Brady's -- spot sooner than expected.

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