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I started this series before the draft but only got a few positions done. As a result, I have decided to start the series over to look at the roster as we inch closer to training camp. Below is the original QB post, updated to reflect what has happened since April.
Returning from last season: Matthew Stafford, Drew Stanton
New to the team: Shaun Hill (acquired in a trade from San Francisco for a 2011 seventh-round pick)
After drafting Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick a year ago, the Lions no longer had to worry about finding a franchise quarterback. That's not to say that Stafford will for sure turn out to be a franchise quarterback when all is said and done, but that need went away the second he was signed to a deal in April of last year.
Stafford showed glimpses of greatness during the 2009 season that gave all Lions fans hope going forward, but the story of last year was not being able to stay healthy. In 2010 and beyond the key to Stafford playing well and the key to the Lions winning games really comes down to him not being injured. The 2009 season forced him to deal with multiple injuries, although he appears to be 100% already.
One of the focal points of this offseason was finding a competent backup in case Stafford does get hurt again. One thing that was obvious in 2009 was that the Lions' chances of winning greatly decreased with Daunte Culpepper at the helm. That is why acquiring Shaun Hill was so important. Hill is an excellent backup who has experience as a starter from his days in San Francisco. Obviously the hope is that we never have to see Hill play unless it is at the end of a game with the Lions leading comfortably, but the reality of the situation is that a backup plan is necessary in case Stafford does go down. With Hill now penciled in as the backup for 2010, I feel a hell of a lot better now compared to last year about the Lions' chances of winning if it becomes necessary for the second-string QB to play.
The only other quarterback on the roster right now is Drew Stanton. Because of Stafford's injuries and Culpepper's ineffectiveness, Stanton got a chance to show what he's got towards the end of last season. Needless to say, he didn't exactly show a whole lot. I don't want to completely write off Stanton because some players just take longer to develop and he hasn't had much consistency with his coaches during his NFL career, but this could be a make or break summer for the former Michigan State Spartan, which leads me to my next point.
Need going forward?
The Lions have already solidified the top two slots of the depth chart at quarterback with Stafford and Hill, and it doesn't appear any QBs will be added to the roster before training camp. It seems unlikely mainly because Lions coaches want Stafford, Hill, and Stanton to get all of the reps. Although there was some thought about bringing in a fourth quarterback to compete with Stanton for a spot on the roster, Lions coaches seem content with going forward with what they have.
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