QB Matthew Stafford (Georgia) - Round 1, Pick No. 1
No pick was discussed more among Lions fans than the selection of Matthew Stafford. That is mainly because we had months to debate who should be the top pick and no player was a clear cut choice. At least three different players could have been the top pick, and there was a large contingent of fans behind each potential selection. In the end, going against the majority of fans, the Lions decided to draft someone they hope will be their franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
Best trait per Scouts Inc.:
Possesses exceptional arm strength. Can make all the NFL throws and more. Excellent zip on deep outs. Can throw with elite velocity while on the run ? particularly when rolling out to his right. He fits the ball into more tight spots than most starting quarterbacks in the NFL right now.
POSITIVES: Strong-armed passer with a gunslingers mentality. Patient in the pocket, displays terrific poise, and always in control. Buys time for receivers, moves around behind the line of scrimmage to give himself a better view of the field, and remains calm as the pocket collapses around him. Senses pressure, displays the ability to elude the rush, and does a nice job protecting the ball. Possesses a great sense of knowing what's happening on the field, and shows a lot of toughness to his game. Stands in the pocket and takes the big hit in order to get the throw away. Quickly sets up in the pocket and throws with an over-the-top delivery. Zips the pass into receivers, and gets the ball through the tight spots. Does a good job with his defensive reads, recognizing blitzes and then quickly finding hot receiver. Natural looking off the safety. Powers the ball downfield and drives long passes. Consistently challenges the vertical game.
NEGATIVES: Puts the deep ball into double coverage on occasion. Lacks classic height for a pocket passer or franchise quarterback.
Final word: Physically, Stafford has everything a team would want in a quarterback. He has good size and an incredible arm. He has the strength to make any throw on the field and can read defenses. Didn't have the best offensive line or wide receivers around him. Improved his yards thrown, completion percentage and touchdowns every year. Still, though, Stafford has a little bit to go in regard to his decision making. With proper coaching, he could start as a rookie.
58-yard TD pass to Mohamed Massaquoi (2007):
- More 2008 highlights, part 1
- More 2008 highlights, part 2
- Highlights against Georgia Tech (2007)
- Every pass against Georgia Tech (2008)
- Pass to Knowshon Moreno
TD pass to Sean Bailey (preview of Stafford to Megatron?)
- Head butt against Florida
- "Know Your Dawgs" segment
Outlook for 2009
I expect to see Stafford play at some point during the 2009 season, but the best case scenario would actually be if he rode the bench for his entire rookie year. Although someone with such a big contract should probably actually play, it would be better if Stafford had an entire season to learn the system and gain experience without having to be thrown to the wolves, so to speak. He's got to play eventually, obviously, but if he doesn't see the field in 2009, chances are it is because Daunte Culpepper is doing well. If we never saw Stafford next season because Culpepper was getting the job done, I would be more than happy. Realistically, though, I think Stafford will get his chance to start around the halfway point of the season or around that time. If things really go bad, it could be even earlier. Let's hope that's not the case, though.