With April right around the corner, it can only mean one thing, Baseball is starting up and the NFL Draft Buzz is in the air. For months, we have debated and made mock drafts until we are blue in the face. The all elusive question with any Draft is," who will be the coveted No. 1 Overall Pick?" The majority of Draft gurus are all pointing towards Matthew Stafford as who Detroit will be taking first in this year's NFL Draft.
There are a plethora of other athletes that could also have the Number One pick bestowed upon them. Aaron Curry, Jason Smith and Michael Crabtree to name a couple that could easily be the number one pick. But as I have heard from the other B/R writers, there are many that are not quite sold on the fact that Matthew Stafford will be Detroit's first choice come April.
Here are Five Reasons why it is a "no brainer" that the Detroit Lions will select Matthew Stafford.
Todd McShay comments on Stafford's Pro Day, and why he feels Matthew Stafford will be the Lions Choice at #1 come Draft Day.
NUMBER 5 REASON~Detroit's Offense
I have heard all about how Detroit needs to build the Defense and all, but you have to "learn to crawl before you can walk" and the Offense is the nucleus that builds a successful program. Yes, as we all know the philosophy, "Defense wins Championships" (and the Defense did rank dead last in the NFL) but the Lions have to start becoming competitive on the offensive side of the ball first.
For example, last year's "Detroit Stories" were the Miami Dolphin and Atlanta Falcons. Both of those organizations had horrid offenses and defense in the year prior to the 2008 NFL season. But both teams addressed the Quarterback position first and foremost, with the Dolphins signing Chad Pennington and the Falcons drafting Matt Ryan. With those crucial moves, both teams turned a losing season into a playoff run campaign.
The Detroit Lions need to address the offensive side of the ball more importantly than the defense, especially with the Free Agency help they have received on Defense thus far. Quarterback is the most important position on the field, and Detroit could seriously hurt themselves in passing on a talent like Stafford. Stafford can make all the throws that is asked of him, and while some inconsistency comes with the Stafford package, he still has the natural ability "strength wise" to hang with any QB in the league.
Check out this 58 Yard Touchdown Pass that Stafford makes with ease....(watch in HQ)
NUMBER FOUR REASON~ Detroit signing LB Julian Peterson.
There has been much debate among the Lions faithful that taking Aaron Curry with the first pick would be sure thing (although nothing is a sure thing in the Draft). The biggest supporting argument for taking Curry is that Detroit was lacking a big fast Linebacker, but now the Lions have gotten that element on their defense....just with Peterson instead of Curry.
No doubt that Curry is a beast and probably the most talented all around athlete in the Draft. But if you are a the Lions GM or front office, you have to ask yourself one question, "Can Curry make all the NFL throws and run a pro-style offense?" Well, we all know that is a ridiculous question, but so is the notion that Aaron Curry will help turn the Lions franchise completely around. A Linebacker has never turned the tide positively or negatively for an organization.....it starts and ends with the Quarterback.
Stafford not only is the most talented Quarterback in this draft, but he is the most formalized with a Pro Typical Offense. His style of play resembles that of how Peyton Manning manages the game. Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt and Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo, have allowed Stafford to make and call the offensive plays at the line of scrimmage, and have since his Freshman Year. Stafford checks and changes the play 80 percent of the time during each and either play.
Here is a good example of how Stafford has the ability to manage and change offensive plays at the line.He also has deceptive speed out of the backfield. Also, take note to how he reads the defense and checks off to a slant route in order to hit Mohammad Massaqoui for the scoring touchdown.
NUMBER THREE REASON~ Matthew Stafford vs. Mark Sanchez....Stafford is the better choice
There have also been the ridiculous comparisons between Stafford and Sanchez as the Top Quarterback out of College. Their college stats are quite similar to each other. Both Passed for 3,200+ yds last season. Both had a completion percentage of at least 62 percent. Stafford's Touchdowns were overshadowed by having the talented Knowshon Moreno behind him running the rock. Stafford was the only quarterback in college to pass for over 3,500 yards, while still having a tailback alongside him to rush for over 1,400 yards (Moreno). He plays in a very Pro-Style Type offense with Georgia, while Sanchez plays in a more west coast offense (which has still yet to catch success in the NFL).
Stafford elected not to throw during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, but did show that he was the fastest, and most agile of the Quarterbacks winning the 40 dash, cone drill, vertical jump, and board jump. Stafford decided instead to throw in his Pro Day at Georgia. He threw 50 passes in 10 minutes and only miss fired two.....that's right 48 for 50 completion rate.
Stafford vs. Sanchez is really not even a valid or fair comparison. Stafford won a starting QB position as True Freshman in the SEC, while it took Sanchez three years to win the starting job at USC in the mediocre PAC-10.......enough said.
Stafford has far better arm strength and velocity on the ball than Sanchez could even possible dream of. Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Troy Aikman, and John Elway have all spoken to Stafford personally and have told him that he is," NFL ready now!!!" Stafford worked as a camp counselor at Peyton Manning's Quarterback Camp for the past two years. Manning has go so far as to say that, "He (Stafford) throws one of the best balls that I have seen in a long while", and that "his post pattern velocity is top notch.....could be even stronger than mine."
NUMBER TWO REASON~ Daunte Culpepper, and Drew Stanton are the only QBs Detroit has on roster.
When you're a team that has had the kind of seasons that Detroit has had the past three seasons, something has got to give, and usually that involves a Coaching or Quarterback change. Well, the Lions have completed half of that order, with the hiring of newly appointed Head Coach Jim Schwartz.
If the Lions elect not to draft Stafford as their first pick, it is impossible that they would pick him up at the 20th pick, which they also hold. It would be very unlikely that even Mark Sanchez would still be on the boards, with teams like Seattle, San Fransisco, and NY Jets that could also use their first picks on a quarterback.
As of present, Daunte Culpepper, and Drew Stanton are the only options the Lions have at a signal caller. Let's start with Culpepper, a 11-year veteran who has had a average career at best (with his best year coming in 2004).
Culpepper hasn't been a full fledged starter in over five seasons, and is taking the "Detroit Train" for a trip towards retirement. He couldn't and wouldn't last a whole season has full time starter, especially with the injury bug plaguing him for the better part of three seasons.
Next comes Drew Stanton, well there is not much to report on Stanton other than saying that he is not a really good quarterback. If the Lions faithful are putting their hopes and dreams on Culpepper or Stanton than they may not want to sleep for long, because that looks to be one giant Nightmare.
Stafford even with the knocks that he has, is already, talent-for-talent, a better Quarterback than Culpepper or Stanton. The Lions know that if they pass on Stafford that they might as well forget about picking up a quality quarterback in this year's draft.
Stafford's "one and done baby" OT touchdown pass to Mickey Henderson in Tuscaloosa. Yeah, yeah....I know that Bama beat Georgia the following year, but this play and this throw is one to marvel at for years to come. Watch in HQ!!!!!!
NUMBER ONE REASON~ Detroit's disinterested in obtaining Jay Cutler
If the Lions pass on trying to get Jay Cutler (which they more than likely will) that will more than likely seal the "Stafford to Detroit" deal pretty fast. Cutler is a decent if not slightly better than average Quarterback. He could definitely fit right in with Detroit's offensive. He has a strong arm and decent pocket awareness...question is, why aren't the Lions that interested in Jay Cutler if he becomes available?
The answer is pretty simple.......because of Matthew Stafford. Stafford's pure talent alone is the reason that the Lions are not looking at any other options at QB.
Yeah that's right, I said it......the Detroit Lions will take Matthew Stafford, because of his talent and "once and every generation" type talent.Those of you who knock and dog Stafford, you are doing so based on his Stats and not his pure god given talent.Most people will say Stafford is overrated, and will only back up their statement based on comparing him to his SEC counterpart's(Tim Tebow) statistics.Well, let's be perfectly honest, if Georgia ran the same offense that Florida does and Stafford took 98 percent of the snaps from the gun, he would have averaged about 4,500+ yds a season.
Stafford's stats aren't glorious and amazing. They weren't going to garnish him Heisman buzz. This means nothing anyways to NFL teams...don't believe me, just ask Troy Smith, Colt Brennan, Jason White, Eric Crouch, and Chris Weinke how high they went in the NFL Draft.
What he did do is learn under a Pro-Style environment (I know I am beating a dead horse on that, but its important) and that makes NFL teams a bit more comfortable in drafting guys who leave early for the pros.Stafford has been anointed as a potential First Overall Pick since his Junior Year...in high school!! He has a great build as a typical NFL QB 6'2 225 lbs.
As a Georgia fan, I know that some might argue that this article has some biases with it(which may be true with all my articles.....though, I did write a "Tim Tebow is great article".lol) but I can assure you that I am not here to state that Stafford will be the Savior of the Detroit Lions. It will take some time for him to develop as all great Quarterbacks have had to do.As I have stated earlier the Lions need to rebuild all together, and coaching and quarterback is where you usually start.
They have their coach, and now the have their quarterback......they just have to wait until April 25 to hand Mr. Roger Goodell a Draft Card that has the name...................MATTHEW STAFFORD on it.
Love him or hate him, there is no denying the freakish arm strength that this kid has, if you watch this last film, take into account his ability to release the ball so quick with so much Velocity. Also watch how he often checks down to his 3rd or 4th receiver(usually Knowshon out of the backfield). That shows patients and calmness out of the pocket, which is essential for an NFL Quarterback.