When you think of the best leaders in the NFL, guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady immediately come to mind. Part of this stems from the notion that these quarterbacks are among the very best in the NFL, but a lot of it has to do with how vocal they are. They aren't afraid to act like a coach with their teammates.
Since entering the NFL in 2009, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has grown quite a bit as a leader. In his early years, he wasn't necessarily someone you would expect to be a vocal leader in the locker room or on the field. However, he has become that kind of a player, and wide receiver Kris Durham, who was teammates with Stafford at Georgia, has noticed the change. From the Free Press:
"Now he’s more taken on a vocal aspect," Durham said. "Him and Nate (Burleson) and Dom and people like that really kind of do the vocal leading. But it’s a complete 180. You can just see him coming into his own and the confidence he brings around him. It’s a big difference."
Lions center Dominic Raiola echoed Durham's thoughts, saying that when Stafford talks, everybody listens. Raiola also said that Stafford has "taken more of a leadership role" and that this is "more his team" now.
The only thing missing from a leadership standpoint for Stafford is a track record of success in the NFL. That's what Rodgers, Brees, Manning and Brady have in common. They've all won Super Bowls, and their teams are in the playoffs more often than not. For Stafford to take that next major step in the NFL, he needs to lead the Lions to the playoffs on a regular basis. Then he could potentially become one of the best leaders in all of the NFL.