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Is the Next Tom Brady Out There?


In what has been described as a lackluster rookie quarterback class, there is really not a lot of value beyond the top couple of picks in dynasty leagues. But we know there are always hidden gems and players that take us by surprise.

Kyler MurrayDwayne Haskins and maybe Daniel Jones will get plenty of starting time in 2019. Drew Lock should come in either next year or maybe 2021. The other players drafted this season are going to have a hard time finding playing time. With the supposedly loaded 2020 quarterback class as well as the 2021 class with Trevor Lawrence, starting jobs will be hard to come by for this group.

Saying this we are going to look at a couple of QBs further down the line because they are sitting behind star players who are getting older and could be on their way out soon. Tom Brady's possible successor (how long have we heard that?) is former Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham. The team drafted him in the fourth round, so there is some expectation that he can contribute eventually. Similarly, Philip Rivers can't play forever, so the team selected Easton Stick in the fifth round to see if he can take over the reins at some point. Could either player turn into the next late-round gem, like former sixth-rounder Brady?

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Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots

Even if Tom Brady wants to play until he is 45, that is only three years away. It is time for the Patriots to start looking at their future. What better way to prepare for the post-Brady era than by having someone in there to learn from the best. I don’t think anyone expects Stidham to be Brady, but he can sit and learn like Aaron Rodgers did his first three seasons and it could be good for him.

His time in college was uninspiring. After a freshman season in the pass-heavy Baylor offense, he spent his final two seasons plodding around the fields of Auburn on an increasingly bad team. In 2017, he had 3,158 pass yards but only had 18 touchdown passes. In his final season, he was even worse with 2,794 passing yards while his completion percentage dropped from 66.5% to 60.7%. These numbers will have to get much better in the NFL if he and the Patriots want any chance for him to take over from Number 12. Granted, he was drafted ahead of where Brady was drafted.

If worst comes to worst, the Patriots can flip him much like they did Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo, as they keep looking for their future. However, the time is now to find a replacement. If Stidham becomes the guy to replace Brady, he could have some fantasy value. But imagine the pressure he will be facing when he does step on the field.

If you want to take him as a late flier, he could be a decent last-round pick. Any player learning in Bill Belichick's system has potential to be great, but you may not even have to take him. He might be there on your waiver wire making him an even better play, especially if you have a taxi squad. He is the perfect fit as a deep dynasty stash if you own an aging QB. Same goes for the next guy up.

 

Easton Stick, Los Angeles Chargers

Yes, another rookie and another player perfect for the taxi squad. Easton Stick comes from powerhouse North Dakota State and the fighting Bison. Having the task of taking over for two of the program’s best quarterbacks in Dan Jensen and Carson Wentz, Stick led the team again to a national championship.

He has the winning pedigree from college as well as the pressure of taking over for a great player. These two factors make him intriguing if he is the one to take over for Rivers when he decides to hang them up. The pressure in Los Angeles and the Chargers is not near as prevalent as it is with the New England Patriots. Not only because the team has not had near the success, but also because despite Los Angeles being a much bigger market than Boston, no one cares about the Chargers there. The Rams are good and even if they weren’t, the team cannot even fill a 25,000-seat soccer stadium for home games.

The lack of pressure to perform will serve Stick well as he transitions to the NFL game and with young players like Mike Williams and Hunter Henry along with Keenan Allen and others, the team has a lot of talent to keep them from completely falling off a cliff.

 

Conclusion

Like other mid-to-late-round quarterbacks who get drafted, it is not likely for these two passers to make an impact very soon, if at all. But with older players like Brady and Rivers in front of them, these two players have as good a shot as any to buck the trend.

West Virginia star Will Grier has Cam Newton in front of him. As much as people don’t like Andy Dalton, if the Bengals stink this season, they will be drafting a QB high, not relying on Ryan Finley as their future. He's looked terrible in training camp and may not even last the season on Cincy's roster. This makes both of these players a far longer shot than the two mentioned above to have a presence for your dynasty team.

Of course, all of these players are dart throws. Just like all rookies, they could hit, and they could just as easily fall flat. But with a last round draft pick in startup drafts? Take the shot on the players with the easiest path to playing time. This means old players in front of them, and quite frankly much better players in front of them who they can learn from and grow even more. Whether Stidham or Stick reach Bradyesque levels of achievement remains to be seen, but it wouldn't hurt to take a chance.

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