Two Reasons To Not Draft Matthew Stafford

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IMarch 24, 2009

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 27:  Quarterback Sam Bradford #14 of the Oklahoma Sooners during play against the TCU Horned Frogs at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

If you're a fan of one of the roughly 20 teams in the NFL that want and/or need a franchise quarterback, you've probably been hearing one of two things for the past four weeks.

Option One: "Matthew Stafford's the real deal; we should pick him/trade up to get him."

Option Two: "Holy cow! We should mortgage our souls for Jay Cutler!"

While the strongest argument could be made for Cutler because he has a professional resume, Stafford has become the quarterback du jour this spring.

Everyone from Detroit to Denver has a man-crush on the former Georgia Bulldog signal caller.

But I would argue that, if I can borrow a little Axl Rose, all you need is a little patience. If you're wearing your Barry Sanders jersey right now, or if you're missing Mike Holmgren already, there are two options just 12 months away that might serve your franchise better in the long run than jumping for this year's favorite.

Option Three: "I could deal with a year of Daunte Culpepper if it means a decade of Sam Bradford."

Option Four: "I could handle trading down and getting a good linebacker/offensive tackle if it means a shot at Colt McCoy in 2010."

If you're loving the Options theme we have going, let's look at all three of these collegiate gems next to each other.

Quarterback One:

328-483 (67.9 percent), 4,720 yds (337.1/gm), 50 TD, 8 Int. Completed 63.9 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and two interceptions in the fourth quarter.

Completed 67.2 percent of his passes on third down, converting 58 of 112 attempts into first downs.

Quarterback Two:

332-433 (76.7 percent), 3,859 yds (296.8/gm), 34 TDs, 8 Int. Completed 70.9 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the fourth quarter.

Completed 75.3 percent of his passes on third down, converting 56 of 97 attempts into first downs.

Quarterback Three:

235-383 (61.4 percent), 3,459 yds (266.1/gm), 25 TD, 11 Int. Completed 56.1 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and one interception in the fourth quarter.

Completed 58.7 percent of his passes on third down, converting 54 of 104 attempts into first downs.

If the gaudy touchdown and completion percentage numbers didn't give it away, Quarterback One is Bradford, Two is McCoy, and Three is Stafford.

I focused on the fourth quarter and third downs as other statistics of interest because those are generally when pressure is its highest on a college quarterback.

The easy crutch for Stafford's numbers being less than those of Bradford and McCoy was the presence of a first round pick next to him in Georgia's backfield; Knowshon Moreno must have taken away some of Stafford's plays, right?

Moreno had a fabulous season last year. In 13 games he ran for exactly 1,400 yards (5.60 per carry) and 16 touchdowns.

However, as a team, Georgia ranked just 54th in the nation as a rushing offense last year, with 1,928 yards on the ground and 21 touchdowns as a team.

Consider that next to Bradford's allegedly pass-happy Oklahoma team, that ranked 13th with 2,779 yards and 45 touchdowns. Or McCoy's Texas team, that ranked 38th with 2,177 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Though pundits will argue that Oklahoma got a lot of junk touchdowns and carries on the ground late in blow-outs, that doesn't change the fact that they played against a tough Big 12 schedule that included McCoy's Texas.

The same can be said about McCoy. In all, Georgia's SEC faced defenses that were, across the conference, on par with those faced by Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12.

Also consider that McCoy had 11 rushing touchdowns and over 500 yards on the ground for himself.

So while Matthew Stafford might be the tempting pick in 2009, a little patience might bring a better player at the top of the 2010 draft.


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