Few people expected quarterback Drew Stanton to be back with the Detroit Lions in 2011. Entering the final year of his contract last season, Stanton was nothing but a third-string quarterback that had experienced very little success on the field in the NFL (partly because he had very little experience in general). Then Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill both went down with injuries and Stanton got another shot at playing, and he didn't disappoint. Stanton made the most out of his opportunity and played his way back into the fold for next season.
Right now it's unclear if Stanton will end up being a restricted or unrestricted free agent (the rules of free agency in the new collective bargaining agreement will determine that), but whatever the case, general manager Martin Mayhew wants to re-sign him. Speaking to the media at the NFL Combine today, Mayhew said this about Stanton:
"We plan on having him on our team this year and to continue to evaluate his progress,'' Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. "He's a guy where every year has been sort of different. I thought he made some dramatic improvement over the second half of the season this year. I thought he showed a lot of improvement so we plan on having him here this year and seeing if he continues to improve that way.''
Mayhew must have a pretty good idea that Stanton will want to stay with the Lions, because he went on to say that not a single one of the team's 60 interviews at the combine will be with a quarterback. Mayhew himself said he is putting all his eggs in the "Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton basket," so you can go ahead and take a late-round QB out of your mock draft. Assuming everything works out, the Lions will have the same three quarterbacks from last year on the roster next season.