Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots continue to buck convention in the AFC.
Some thought New England would use a "premium pick" in the 2020 NFL Draft to land Tom Brady's heir apparent at quarterback. Instead, the Patriots appear to be rolling with Jarrett Stidham, their fourth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.
How many teams currently have a fourth-round QB as their starter, you ask? There's only one other AFC club: The Jacksonville Jaguars and (presumptive) starter Gardner Minshew.
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In fact, after the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers all used top-six picks on quarterbacks, the Patriots are one of just four AFC teams without a starting QB (or a starting QB in waiting) who wasn't drafted in the first round.
Here's the breakdown, courtesy of Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf):
In fact, Stidham joins Minshew, Drew Lock, Derek Carr and Lamar Jackson as the only AFC QBs who didn't go in the top 12 overall of their draft.
Of course, draft position doesn't always reflect talent. The Patriots would be the first to tell you after winning six Super Bowl titles with a sixth-round QB.
But the AFC's best QBs right now -- Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson -- were all first-rounders, while Stidham seems much more on par with Lock and Minshew than the rest of this group.
The above chart lends credence to the theory that teams love building around elite QBs, and the Kansas City Chiefs proved that model of success worked in 2019.
The Patriots? As usual, they're going their own route, banking on the 23-year-old Stidham to once again defy a common trend.
Where does Jarrett Stidham rank among AFC QBs? Here's an eye-opening stat originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston