Comps – Low/Medium/High
Alek Torgersen (Low) – Mitch Trubisky (Medium) – Carson Palmer (High)
The leap forward from 2017 tape has been huge for Stidham’s high grade, as I had him labeled a fourth round type of talent heading into the year. His physical tools have always been worth noting, but they seem to have taken another step forward as his mechanics have become more controlled. As a decision-maker he is avoiding some of the errors that plagued him early on in his college career, although he is not yet ready to step into an NFL lineup. Stidham does not put the ball in danger, but he will need to improve his processing speed to go beyond finding checkdowns if he wants to see significant snaps. He relies too much on improvisation at this point, using his legs to extend plays to find guys downfield rather than holding his ground in the pocket. While this is a huge leap forward from his previous habit of pulling his eyes down and running immediately, he may have issues translating early on. A lot of his issues in this regard may be linked more to his coaching than his actual skill set though, as Stidham played in an offense that constantly handicapped his abilities. He was not asked to go beyond his first read frequently. Rather than be given full field progressions he was force-fed screen passes and rollouts that left him with no option but to run. The Senior Bowl will be a proving ground for what he can do, and it would not be shocking to see him rise to QB1 status with a good showing in Mobile taking in a new offense. Even though Stidham did not seem at home in the pocket, he was effective in manipulating it. He has somewhat quiet footwork but it keeps him from getting in trouble as pressure arrives. He’ll scoot out of the way and relocate to a new platform or passing lane without getting uncomfortable. While not the most athletic specimen, he is able to pick up yardage with his legs when need be. Mechanically speaking Stidham has few flaws, although the ones he has may not be easily corrected. His lower body mechanics are great, although he needs to be more balanced on one step drops. His release can wind a bit too long, but it comes out fast enough to make up for that. He has arm strength in spades, and has demonstrated the ability to deliver the ball to all levels of the field. Whether it be on or off platform, he is able to create an impressive amount of throwing power. There’s not much touch to his passing yet, which comes with the territory for most strong arm guys, but he rarely misses targets entirely. His natural accuracy from both stationary and moving platforms is by far one of his best traits. If he can hone in his placement he’ll be tough to stop.
Reads & Decisions
Auburn offense was comprised primarily of screens and one-read options that did not ask advanced processing. Deals with bouts of hesitation; wants to see things open first before making a choice. Does not sell defensive backs with his eyes; gets caught staring down his target. Recognizes underneath defenders and tries to avoid them whenever possible. Can find the checkdown if nothing comes open downfield in reasonable time. Growth could have been stunted by offense; forced into a lot of bad choices by scheme. Slow trigger finger can haunt him in between the hashes. Will need seasoning to improve post-snap. Unable to maintain rhythm when asked to reach secondary options within offensive structure. Does not make risky decisions or take unnecessary chances with the football.
Accuracy & Ball Placement
Did an excellent job throwing against the defender’s leverage during the Washington game. Pinpoint when he is operating the short game from a stable pocket. Does not miss his target by much when he does miss; ball doesn’t stray into dangerous areas. Needs to develop touch to work the intermediate game more effectively. One-arc thrower who struggles to drop passes into a bucket. Was failed by his receivers constantly when passes demanded a strong catch outside of the frame. Deep throws aren’t perfect, but have adequate placement for pros. Needs to improve placement when arm slotting is altered. Reliable on the move as long as he has time to set a platform. Seam throws are a bit tough to go up for. Needs to give a little more lead to maximize YAC opportunities.
Pocket Awareness & Scrambling
Was not an effective runner during his time with the Tigers despite having a significant amount of attempts. Does not always have a plan when the pocket breaks down. Well-built for his listed measurements; looks taller than 6’2″. Tendency to drops his eyes and search for an early exit was common in 2017, but it seems to be waning. Capable of finding open lanes and capitalizing, but should not be considered a dual threat quarterback. Short strider who will get caught from behind when working rollouts. Feels pressure coming and yanks away from it. Good reactive movement skills. Adjustments are reactionary, not anticipatory. Play extension ability can be hit or miss, but it shows up enough to suggest success. Will get overpowered when pass rushers hit him.
Mechanics & Throwing Motion
Footwork is subtle but effective; angles towards his target and stays properly aligned prior to arm action. Smooth throwing motion without much awkwardness in the setup or release. Arm path can be a bit long, but he whips it hard in attempt to make up for it. Will likely need to shorten his release to get the ball out on time. Drives off of his front foot well; steps into his throws. Clean spiral is one of the prettier ones in the class. Body control is a plus; does not break his own rhythm or get out of sync between upper and lower half. Mechanics on the move are surprisingly good; squares up properly without overshooting his alignment. Weight transfer is easy and natural. Base width can vary if he does not climb from his drop. Feet are bouncy and ready to adjust at all times.
Arm talent stands out immediately on tape. Cuts through the air with his throws, and does not seem likely to struggle with difficult weather conditions. Has enough velocity to make NFL caliber throws week in and week out. Gets zip on the ball even when forced to work off platform. Physical gifts are inherently present, not manufactured by mechanics. Did not deal with tight windows in college, but should be capable of going through them at the next level. Power generation starts ground up, further maximizing his arm. Distance isn’t a problem; comfortably gets to the 55 yard marker with a little windup.