Most of the time, NFL teams are looking to find their talent at a young age. Draft well and not only do you have a player whose career could last a long time on your team, but for those first four years, you have him on a bargain.
But there’s something to say about having talented veterans, too. Experience is valuable both on the field and in team meetings. Plus, sometimes the most reliable people on the field are veterans who have learned to limit mistakes and master their craft.
So while the Lions continue to get shut out of lists like the “Top 25 players under 25,” one prominent member of the team made NFL.com’s recent Top 30 players OVER 30 list. Matthew Stafford came in on the list—created by Ali Bhanpuri and Tom Blair—at number 11.
“Stafford’s ranking is both a reflection of his stellar play in eight games last season and the fact that he could only play in eight games last season,” Bhanpuri wrote. “When healthy, he’s unquestionably a top-10 quarterback. In fact, if not for that caveat, he’d almost certainly rank in the top five here, just as he did in our QB Index back in the middle of last season.”
Stafford, at age 32, bested a few notable quarterbacks on the list. Kirk Cousins came in at 24, Drew Brees at 18, and someone named Tom Brady at 17. The only quarterbacks that were ranked above Stafford were Matt Ryan (7), Aaron Rodgers (4) and Russell Wilson (1).
We’re entering an era in the NFL in which new, exciting quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson are taking over. However, there’s always value in consistency, and Stafford has become one of the most reliably good quarterbacks in the NFL.