I hope you have all had enough time to recover from the discovery that Matthew Stafford’s Madden 19 rating (which is almost certainly going to change) is just 83. If you haven’t fully recuperated yet, maybe take a moment to do some meditation, because you’re about to read something far more infuriating.
Luke Easterling of Draft Wire ranked the last 10 No. 1 overall picks in the NFL draft, and he was not all that kind to Matthew Stafford. The Detroit Lions quarterback came in at No. 6 on the list, which may not sound all that bad on its surface, but the problem lies with who is ahead of Stafford.
Coming in at No. 5 is Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, and all the way at No. 2? Andrew “I’m just now learning how to throw a football again” Luck. Even Easterling’s placement of Cam Newton at No. 1 is suspect, but since Newton has an MVP title under his belt, I’ll let it slide.
So let’s go back to the others. Let’s just take a look at some statistics, shall we?
Stafford: 62.0 comp. %, 216-118 TD/INT ratio, 7.2 Y/A, 88.3 passer rating
Winston: 60.8 comp. %, 69-44 TD/INT ratio, 7.5 Y/A, 87.2 passer rating
Now, I’ll grant you that Winston is still very early in his career, while Stafford has had the benefit of the last few seasons where he has clearly made the transformation from youngster to seasoned NFL vet. But Stafford is currently playing at a level we’ve never seen Winston come close to. In each of his past three seasons, Stafford has put up a better passer rating, a higher completion percentage and a lower interception percentage than Winston has ever accomplished in any of his three NFL seasons.
Easterling defended his list on Twitter, claiming it was created taking “further growth/development into consideration,” and claims that Stafford has peaked. That’s certainly understandable and would explain why Jared Goff is also ahead of Stafford on the list.
But projections are tricky. Potential isn’t always met and once promising careers are sometimes left unfulfilled. Check in on Colin Kaepernick or Mark Sanchez nowadays. So while some may believe guys like Andrew Luck and Jared Goff are certainly going to be better quarterback when they’re healthy and in their 30s like Stafford, it’s just a guessing game at this point.
Of course, that’s the entire point of these offseason lists: Guessing. And this is just one person’s guess among a sea of guesses we’ll see over the next couple months.