After three days, seven rounds and 10 draft picks, the New England Patriots have made something very clear: they are all in on quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
Reports had surfaced prior to the draft that New England intended to draft a quarterback with a "premium" pick, which was anywhere from rounds 1-3. However, after two days of the NFL Draft, the Patriots had made five selections, and none of them were quarterbacks.
Then came Day 3, when there were still plenty of talented quarterbacks to be had in the draft like Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm, and Anthony Gordon. New England made another four selections in rounds 4-7, but again, none of them were a quarterback.
Then came undrafted free agency, and the Patriots finally added to their quarterback room. They signed Louisiana Tech's J'Mar Smith and Michigan State's Brian Lewerke.
What became evidently clear by waiting until after the draft to add a quarterback - in this case two - was that New England wasn't looking to create a fierce competition over the summer for the starting quarterback job. Instead, they seemingly told the world that they have their starting quarterback on the roster. That quarterback is 2019 fourth round pick Jarrett Stidham.
"If we feel like we find the right situation, we'll certainly draft them," head coach Bill Belichick said during his videoconference on Saturday when asked how he goes about the decision to select a quarterback in the draft. "We've drafted them in multiple years, multiple points in the draft. Didn't work out last three days. That wasn't by design. It could have, but it didn't. Again, there are multiple ways to build your team. We'll see whether or not we get word of another that comes up at a different point in time. I don't know. We just tried to do the best we could with what we had this weekend. That's what we did. We'll see where it goes."
There's no doubt that New England has a draft board and doesn't like to stray away from it when deciding which players to draft. But one has to think if they really wanted to bring in a player that would compete during training camp for the starting quarterback job, they would have strayed away from their board to get one. However, they would have only done that if they weren't confident in the quarterbacks they already had on the roster.
"Yeah, no, I like both those players," Belichick said when asked how he feels about Stidham and veteran QB Brian Hoyer. "We've had Brian a couple times. I think he certainly gives us a very solid level of play. We have a lot of confidence in him. And Jarrett had a good year last year. He improved a lot. We'll see where that takes him. Yeah, I have confidence in both players."
When training camp begins this summer (or at this point if it begins) the starting quarterback competition will be between Hoyer and Stidham. Last August, Hoyer was cut by the Patriots after he seemingly lost the backup job to Stidham, who had a very strong preseason as a rookie. After Tom Brady left this offseason, it wasn't until after Hoyer was released by the Colts that New England added another quarterback besides Stidham onto the roster. That tells you everything you need to know about the team's confidence in Stidham moving forward.
He beat out Hoyer last year, and he will again this year. Jarrett Stidham is the Patriots' starting quarterback in 2020.