While most of the attention and accolades go to rookie players selected in the first and second rounds, success is not guaranteed to any prospect that enters the NFL.
What has been lost in today’s age of the NFL, in which winning is often expected immediately, is the development of many backup players on teams rosters. While Jarrett Stidham may not have any star power in New England at the moment, sitting back and learning from arguably the best NFL quarterback of all time isn’t a bad way to start a career.
That’s the situation the rookie from Auburn finds himself in during his first NFL training camp and considering he isn’t likely ready to excel as a starter in the NFL immediately, you could argue he is in a better position to succeed longterm than a player like Kyler Murray, who was taken No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Instead of having to learn on the field, which has ruined a long list of quarterbacks, Stidham has the opportunity to learn the playbook and be developed by the NFL’s best head coach before he ever has to see the field.
That’s something not lost on Stidham, who recently acknowledged his opportunity to learn from Tom Brady.
“Obviously he’s a great player, a great person, and honestly, it’s just been great just to see him operate,” Stidham recently said at Patriots mandatory minicamp according to Mark Farinella of Boston.com. “He’s been doing it for so long, and obviously he has a lot of knowledge, so I’m just trying to sit back and watch how he works, and soak in as much as possible.”
Interestingly enough, not only is Stidham getting the chance to learn from some new faces but he’s been reunited with an old one in New England — former Alabama running back Damien Harris. If you were unaware, the two Patriot rookies were teenage friends.
“Life comes full-circle,” Stidham noted. “Damien and I were lucky enough to both get drafted by the Patriots and now we’re both here, hanging out on the weekends like old times, like we were 8 years old.”
If all goes according to plan, there’s a chance the two old teenage friends could one day be the face of New England’s offense.