ESPN's Mike Sando recently polled 26 "anonymous league insiders" to come up with a ranking of all 32 projected starting quarterbacks for the 2014 season. Sando's poll included current and former general managers, pro personnel evaluators and several coaches, and the results produced four different tiers for the quarterbacks.
The Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford landed in the second tier. Specifically, he came in at No. 13 overall, putting him just ahead of Colin Kaepernick and Nick Foles, who rounded out the second tier, and just behind Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco. Here's more on Stafford's ranking from Sando:
There's a feeling among evaluators that Stafford, more than any other QB outside the top five, has the talent to ascend into the first tier. He is arguably the most intriguing starter in the league.
"I've watched Stafford a lot and some of the decision-making is questionable," a defensive coordinator said. "[But] as a talent, I would have drafted the kid No. 1 when he was coming out of Georgia."
That about sums up where Stafford is at right now as an NFL quarterback. Based on his abilities, he's got the potential to be a top-five quarterback in the NFL. We saw that in 2011 when he threw for 41 touchdowns and more than 5,000 yards and led the Lions to the playoffs. The problem is that he is far too inconsistent, partly because he does make a lot of questionable decisions at times.
If the Lions' new coaching staff can get Stafford to become a more consistent quarterback, he could certainly make the jump to the first tier, which currently includes Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Andrew Luck. The talent is there, but Stafford has to perform at a high level much more consistently than he has in the past.