Could Jarrett Stidham work himself up to the top of the draft?
Much hyped Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham had his signature game this weekend, helping the Tigers smash # 1 ranked Georgia. As a result, it made me wonder if Stidham (still only a redshirt sophomore) may be ready to make a leap up draft boards.
A case for Stidham being a R1 pick this year
No surprise, but Jarrett Stidham is racking up great passing stats in the QB-friendly Auburn offense. He’s completing 67.1% of his passes for 9.1 yards per attempt, with only 3 interceptions so far.
However, we can’t simply paint Stidham with the “system QB” brush. Coming out of Texas high school football, he had been ranked as a five-star recruit. He didn’t transfer from Baylor because he feared for his job security, but rather as a result of their off-the-field scandals. In terms of pedigree, Stidham has it. He also has tools as well, with solid size (6’3″) and “plus” athleticism.
A big question will be experience because Stidham will have only completed one season as a starter by the time the draft rolls around. Of course, that didn’t stop Mitchell Trubisky from being the # 2 overall pick last year. I don’t think teams will judge Stidham harshly for his youth and inexperience; rather, they may give him more of the benefit of the doubt for it.
A case against Stidham being a R1 pick this year
In a general sense, Jarrett Stidham has played well this season, as those stats indicate. However, a deeper dive shows a little bit of a “red flag” when you consider his play in tough spots.
In Week 2, Stidham went into Death Valley in Clemson and got eaten alive by their ferocious defense. He completed 13/24 passes for just 79 total yards. Consider the rushing/sacks (18 carries, negative 42 yards) and that’s a disastrous day. Stidham didn’t face much better when he went on the road against LSU, completing just 9/26 for 165 yards. Perhaps Stidham can’t handle NFL-caliber talent on defense.
Now, Stidham has played better recently (including a combined 6 TDs, 0 int at Texas A&M and vs. Georgia), but those struggles in tough environments could be scrutinized.
TL;DR : Personally, I’d like Stidham to stay another year at Auburn to chase the title, the Heisman, and a top 10 pick. However, if he wants to crash the party early, teams will have to at least put him into the conversation and consider him in R1.