Okay, there isn’t quite the urgency for a mob gathering as my headline is suggesting. For all I know, Matthew Stafford could be the next great quarterback in the NFL. Hell, at this point, after witnessing the past failures of Joey Harrington, and now an NFL record of 0-16, the Lions would be happy if their top pick just turns out to be “very good.”
But in conversations I’ve had with Detroit fans in the past few months, not one in the group believed the Lions would make a quarterback their first overall pick. Some even called me foolish for the name appearing first on my mock draft.
Well, before the NFL commish even walks to the podium to make the official announcement, Detroit has already signed Stafford to a six-year $78 million deal, making him the first overall pick in the 2009 draft.
And judging by some of the profanity laced comments I received with my suggestion of the former Bulldog going first, I now envision an angry mob gathering the hounds and searching the countryside for the man that made the decision. I can also see Matt Millen sitting in a lawn chair and pointing the way.
$78 million is a lot of money for an unproven player, but you can’t blame Stafford for that. If the NFL refuses to provide a structure for rookie salaries, the numbers will just continue to rise each year. Last year, I thought the Falcons made a mistake by not only drafting Matt Ryan, but also giving him a bundle of cash. In both cases, I was wrong.
Matthew Stafford may not make the same initial splash on the NFL scene as Ryan and Flacco did a year ago, but I still feel that quarterback was the right direction for Detroit. People ask why you draft a quarterback if your line can’t protect him, and I ask why they drafted a receiver (Calvin Johnson) without a quarterback to reach him.
It’s a circular game that goes round and round, but nevertheless, the issue is moot, as Stafford is the new face of your franchise. Just look at it this way, the new Lions can’t possibly fair worse than those of 2008. Can they?
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