FOXBORO -- For the fourth time in six years, the Patriots have drafted a quarterback.
With pick No. 133 overall (fourth round), New England selected Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who was connected to the Patriots a great deal during the pre-draft process.
Speaking to the media on a conference call afterwards, the 22-year-old couldn't have sounded more thrilled.
"I’m extremely excited," he said. "Obviously, New England has won a bunch of Super Bowls in recent history and Coach [Bill] Belichick is obviously one of the brightest minds in football, so just being able to be a part of what Mr. Kraft is doing in the organization, what Coach Belichick is doing in the organization, I’m so fired up and ready to get to work and be a part of a great organization."
Stidham's first real interaction with the Patriots came the night before his pro day when he met with Nick Caserio for an hour and a half.
"We sat down and went over a bunch of different things and their offense and my offense at Auburn and just kind of my background a little bit," he said. "He was just trying to get a feel for me, and it was obviously great to sit there and learn a little bit from him."
Then, the Auburn product visited Gillette Stadium for what turned out to be his final top-30 visit.
"I went up there for a day, was able to sit down obviously with Coach Belichick, Coach [Josh] McDaniels and other people throughout the organization," he said. "It was a really great visit. I enjoyed getting up there and getting to know them and allowing them to get to know me a little bit and what I’m all about. It was a great visit, and like I said, I couldn’t be more fired up to be a Patriot."
Stidham added: "I loved it. We sat there and went through some of their offensive systems that morning, and just to dive into a NFL playbook that is so successful, I had a lot of fun with it. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that I’m going to have to learn moving forward, but I’m with Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling. Those are three guys that have a lot of knowledge and I’m going to be able to sit there and soak up everything from those guys and learn a lot and hopefully play at a high level."
Some might get intimated being in the same room as Brady, but he's looking forward to it.
"It’s obviously going to be great," said Stidham. "Tom Brady is obviously a great player and, from what I’ve heard, a great teammate. So I’m just looking forward to spending some time with him. You can’t play for 20 years and not have so much knowledge of the game, so just being able to sit there and soak up everything that he’s gone through and pick his brain here and there about different things. It’s a tremendous opportunity to learn under him and Brian Hoyer. Obviously Brian’s been around the league for a really long time and has a ton of experience.
"To be in the same room with those guys and to learn from them, it’s going to be great and I’m really looking forward to it."