AUBURN, Alabama — Jarrett Stidham is one of the more talented passers in the country.

Not many people will argue against that point. The Auburn football quarterback is the first passer in school history to return for a second season after throwing for 3,000 yards. The All-SEC quarterback has the prototypical abilities everyone looks for in an NFL quarterback, and some believed he could have been selected in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft had he left Auburn following the 2017 season.

Well, Stidham is back for his junior season at Auburn and expectations are high for him and the Tigers after a trip to the SEC Championship Game last season.

NFL.com analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah weighed in on the top quarterbacks in college football last week, and Stidham was included on that list. HIs lengthy breakdown of Stidham was complimentary of the Auburn quarterback and included thoughts from victories against Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama.

Stidham “lacks elite size,” Jeremiah writes, but is tall enough and has tremendous arm strength.

“I was quite impressed after watching him spin it at the Elite 11 camp a few weeks ago,” Jeremiah writes. “The 21-year-old is very accurate in the quick game and shows the ability to change ball speed. He really excels throwing the deep ball coming off play action, and he does a good job using the width of the field to give guys plenty of room to run under the ball.

“Stidham is also very effective throwing on the move. He squares his shoulders and displays the ability to layer the ball over underneath defenders. His athleticism is a big asset in the running game.”

Stidham mostly reminds Jeremiah of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. “Carr has established himself as a top-tier quarterback in the NFL, and I believe Stidham has similar potential,” Jeremiah writes. Stidham will need time to develop in the NFL because of the lack of intermediate routes and “full-field reads” in Gus Malzahn’s offense, Jeremiah believes.

“I’d also like to see Stidham improve his patience in the pocket,” he continues. “His internal clock goes off too early at times and he will take off running. As a result, there are some missed opportunities and he takes unnecessary hits as a runner. This can be improved with more reps, and I think he'll be more comfortable in the upcoming season.”

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Jeremiah believes Stidham will be provided “more control” of the offense in the fall, which falls in line with Malzahn’s plans to provide the second-year quarterback more freedom to change plays on the field.

Stidham will be a top-tier quarterback to watch throughout the season, but if he has a breakout game against Washington’s secondary in the season opener Sept. 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the hype will grow quickly.

“If Stidham performs well on this stage, against this opponent, it could really kick-start his Heisman campaign,” Jeremiah writes. “It would also grab the attention of NFL evaluators.”
Check out Jeremiah’s full evaluation of Stidham and other college quarterbacks here.