The Detroit Lions Can Wait on Their "Franchise QB"

Brett DavisContributor IApril 14, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28:  Fans hold a sign during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions on December 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 31-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Apr. 14, '09

As a loyal Lions fan I hope that they have learned from the last eight years of draft failures and don't go with the high profile skill position. But I have an eerie feeling that they haven't, and will take Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 pick.

Stafford does have some good qualities about him. He has a strong arm, he played against the best defenses in college (SEC), and he played in a pro-style offense. Also even though he has been criticized for coming out after his junior season, he has started for three years because he played his freshman year.

That is the same experience as most college QB's who stay until graduation. In comparison Stafford started 34 games, and Matt Ryan started 32. So I don't see that being as much of a hindrance as people are making it out to be.

He might turn out to be a great pro QB. If the Lions pass on him and he turns out to be a perennial pro bowler it will definitely sting, but I don't believe it will hurt us as bad as if we draft him and he turns out to be a bust. 

I don't really understand why he is rated so high: His college stats are definitely not impressive his career comp.% was only 57.1 percent. If you can't complete over 60 percent playing against college talent how are you going to get better playing against the pros?

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Now I'm hearing people saying that he wasn't on a very good team. Georgia was ranked Preseason No. 1. How is that a bad team? And if he is as much of a lock as his supporters are making him out to be then why doesn't any other team want to trade up for him?

I just feel that we need to build our team. It's great teams that win, not great quarterbacks. Marino never won a championship, and Elway couldn't win until they put a team around him. 

But Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Doug Williams, Jim McMahon, and Mark Rypien have all won one, Bob Griese has won two. Why? Because they were on great teams. I honestly don't believe that Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger would be as highly thought of if they weren't on the teams that they are.

I mean in the 2005 Super Bowl Roethlisberger was 9-for-21 for 123 yards and two interceptions, his passer rating was 22.6. Does anyone believe that he won that Super Bowl, or did the team carry him to the championship?

If Daunte Culpepper was the QB on that team I doubt he or any other QB in the league could have done worse. But they still won. Are any of you starting to get the picture? 

Some people are going to laugh at me. Some are going to think I'm crazy, or an idiot. But I don't see any reason that if Culpepper's knee is healed, and he can maintain his weight why he can't be a productive quarterback for the next few years. He had his best years under Linehan in Minnesota, throwing to a freak of a receiver.

Sounds a lot like our current situation. Plus next years QB class has ten times the talent of this year. That's when we can get our QB of the future. Also now that the Bucs have signed Byron Leftwich, I doubt that they will take Josh Freeman so he will more than likely fall into the second round.

We can pick him up for a lot cheaper, and not mortgage our future on one guy. Plus Freeman and Stafford are looked at pretty much same. All of the "experts" say the same things about them, strong arm, decent accuracy, makes poor decisions at times.

I would rather pass on both, but if we have to gamble I would rather do it with our second round pick than our first.

I would love to see the Lions trade the first pick, but I doubt they can. So here is what I would like to see in the first three rounds of the draft:

Scenario One                                           

1a- LT Jason Smith

1b- ILB Rey Maualuga

2-   DT Ron Brace

3a- CB Best Available

3b- FS Best Available

Scenario Two

1a-  LT Jason Smith

1b-  DT Peria Jerry

2-   ILB James Laurinaitis

3a-  CB Best Available

3b-  FS Best Available

Either way we get our LT to solidify our OL hopefully we will pick up a C in the later rounds to compete with Raiola. But that would make up a line of Smith LT Backus LG Raiola C Peterman RG and Cherilus RT.

They might experiment with Backus at RT and move Gosder to Guard. He played some guard in college. Either way that's a pretty solid line.

If we get Maualuga and put him with Sims and Peterson we will have one of the best linebacking corps in the league. I know Peterson is older, but I think that he still has a few good years in him.

Add Brace to our DL and Grady Jackson on running downs. Hopefully Fluellen will show something this year. It could be a decent rotation. Oh yeah and we have Chuck Darby... lucky us. At DE we would have White who isn't that bad, Avril who I think has a lot of potential, and Alma-Francis to spell them. Not the best DL, but better than last year.

In the defensive backfield we would have Buchanon and Henry at CB, King at nickel, and Bullocks at SS. I put in my draft for a FS at 3b because I'm not sure if Alexander can come back. If he can come back or we can figure out something else out, then I would like to see us draft a WR/KR with 3b.

If we get a CB with 3a maybe we can move Henry to FS. Or, just throwing this out there, I wonder if Dizon could play safety? He's a fast, undersized linebacker. Sounds like a safety to me.

We are going to have a very young team, and probably won't win very many games. But we'll win at least one (I hope).  We should be in good position to draft one of the top QB's in the draft next year, and our young guys will have a year of experience. So it will be a better situation for a young QB to come into.

If the Lions do draft Stafford, I'll root for the guy, and hope for the best. But I really hope that we don't.

Go Lions! And good luck to the Pistons and Wings in the Playoffs.