New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham had successful back surgery earlier this week, according to a report from NFL Network. The veteran is expected to be out of commission for approximately 12 weeks.
The nature or severity of the back injury has yet to be reported or disclosed by the team. At the start of camp, he was placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list for “pain in his right shoulder and back while throwing the football,” per an earlier report from The Athletic.
If his recovery proceeds as scheduled, he should be available to return to provide quarterback depth in mid to late October.
Stidham, 24, was expected to be the No. 3 quarterback behind Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones this season.
He has appeared in eight games in his career for the Patriots after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions.
On Wednesday, the Patriots claimed Jake Dolegala off waivers from Green Bay. Dolegala should compete with veteran Brian Hoyer for a roster spot this preseason.
–Field Level Media
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton appeared to injure his right hand during the voluntary organized team activity, according to multiple reports Friday.
The training staff reportedly examined Newton’s hand halfway through the session and the former MVP did not return.
First-round draft pick Mac Jones, third-year player Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer took repetitions in Newton’s place.
Newton, 32, re-signed with the team on a one-year deal in March after going 7-8 and passing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season with New England in 2020.
The Patriots selected Jones with the 15th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones, 22, passed for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading Alabama to a national championship last season.
Stidham, 24, was drafted in the fourth round out of Auburn in 2019. He has completed 24 of 48 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and four picks in eight games (zero starts) over the past two seasons.
Hoyer, 35, is eying his third stint with New England after playing with the club from 2009-11 and 2017-18.
–Field Level Media
Despite the weight of a uniquely never-ending draft grind, there’s something poetic about the start of a new collegiate cycle that attracts a total spectrum of fans, from the educated onlookers to the full-blown draft degenerates (such as myself).
As such, we proceed with a detailed evaluation of my introductory positional rankings – coming out one group at a time, beginning with quarterbacks.
So, to (inaccurately) quote the great Matthew McConaughey: “I’ll write, I’ll write, I’ll write.”
Five teams selected a first-round passer in the 2018 class and my suspicion is that it was a partial indictment of the potential 2019 crop. Presently, we’re faced with a quarterback class asking numerous questions of evaluators – who only seem to agree about being unable to distinguish who will emerge on top.
Simply put, there are a handful of quarterbacks with the potential to rise above the class, but most require a step-forward season in 2019 in order for that to happen. This year’s preseason quarterback evaluation requires more projection than most years I’ve studied the NFL Draft, which personally elicits equal levels of excitement and indignation.
1. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Will be hit with the ‘system’ tag, but he completes a high degree of attempts and rapidly immersed himself in Gus Malzahn’s intricate passing offense. I don’t see a quarterback with better ‘feel’ for his position in this class right now.
2. Justin Herbert, Oregon (6’6″ 225lbs.)
• Possesses all of the tantalizing physical traits evaluators want in a franchise passer: size, arm and athleticism. Also boasts a smooth delivery and statistical accuracy. If he takes the next step this season it’ll be tough to value another passer more.
3. Will Grier, West Virginia (6’2″ 214lbs.)
• The ex-Florida Gator was highly prolific throughout his first season in Morgantown, forming a good connection with stud receiver David Sills. Everything’s on a rope; makes NFL-esque window throws, but needs to learn that not every pass needs to be a bullet.
4. Drew Lock, Missouri (6’4″ 225lbs.)
• Ticks all of the prototype passer boxes, possessing ideal size, arm talent and an ever-present inclination to push the ball downfield. Must overcome issues relating to accuracy (both in-game and statistical), but did suffer from receiver drops last year.
5. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Underclassmen who must drastically improve accuracy, but showed plenty of promise in his ten-win Sophomore campaign. Moves through reads in rapid-fire. Will take a hit to deliver an accurate pass. Nice pocket footwork, but liable to hurt a defense with them too.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Finley, North Carolina State (6’4″ 210lbs.)
• Boise State transfer with prolific aerial numbers. Major positive is his compact, lightning-quick release and decisive style – always aware of quick-read options and fall-back outlets. Has many physical tools at his disposal. Downfield ball placement is inconsistent.
Find me on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate