It’s official. The Detroit Lions will select Matthew Stafford, the junior quarterback from Georgia as the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
NFL.com’s Thomas George was told by a source in the Detroit Lions organization that they select Stafford regardless of whether a deal is in place by the beginning of the draft Saturday at 4 p.m.
Now here comes the hard part for some Lions fans, if you’re at the NFL Draft in New York, don’t boo Stafford, what good will it do?
Last year when the visiting Cincinnati Bengals came to town, Lions fans tried the “orange out” by asking all fans to wear orange in protest of Matt Millen. Did it work? Of course not.
Whether or not you wanted Stafford as the Lions quarterback or you would have preferred Aaron Curry or Jason Smith, it’s a done deal.
Let’s give Stafford a chance to succeed. It’s not his fault the Lions drafted him, he’s a young man, his first impression of Detroit doesn’t need to be a negative one.
The Lions will need Stafford to have success, which could happen with a year learning from the sidelines under Scott Linehan, a proven offensive coordinator. Linehan helped fellow Detroit quarterback Daunte Culpepper become a league MVP and Stafford has far more talent than Culpepper did coming out of college.
Stafford does have question marks, but every quarterback in college always does. Peyton Manning was a No. 1 selection, yet many experts thought Ryan Leaf would have a better career, others stated he had the hype because of his last name.
Peyton’s father was a great NFL quarterback and some experts thought he was living off his father’s reputation, experts stated if his name was “Peyton Jones” he would be a third-round pick.
While Stafford is holding the clipboard for Detroit in the 2009 season, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy will be playing against the inferior defenses of the Big 12 conference.
The only Big 12 quarterback with a chance to start in 2009 is Sage Rosenfels from Iowa State.
The biggest change will be all of the Lions front office and staff will be onboard with the selection of Stafford. Mayhew made this comment, "Whoever we pick, it'll be a player Jim and I both like -- and Scott and our scouts, too. We're going to be on the same page.”
That is a major change from the Millen days where former head coach Marty Morningweg was adamant he did not want Joey Harrington, yet Millen had his way. The same happened when he selected Drew Stanton in the second round, a pick that was not embraced by the coaching staff.
It’s hard to coach a guy you didn’t want. Linehan will have wanted a chance to coach Stafford that will be backed by the entire organization. That’s a huge improvement.
The Lions can improve their offensive line later in this year’s draft or early in the 2010 draft. If Detroit grabs a middle linebacker such as Rey Maualuga or James Laurinaitis, it’s still giving the Lions a very good linebacking corps, as it would with Aaron Curry.
Stafford has a chance to succeed in the NFL; Lions fans need to support him and hopefully the Lions will be smiling in future years with a solid NFL quarterback, something that hasn’t been seen in Detroit for 50 years.