Justifying the Picks: Matthew Stafford UPDATED


Hello all, I thought I’d explain myself a bit after making my debut over the weekend. I’m this site’s author’s brother. You can find my other work on the mostly defunct Pre-Marital Sax. I thought I would do a little explaining for my picks, since you all have been sending me emails asking me why I took who I did (OK, I haven’t actually received any email, but my email hasn’t been made available so I probably would have if it had been). Anyway, here are my thoughts trying to justify my Stafford pick:

1. Matthew Stafford.

I, unlike most Lions fans, did NOT want Aaron Curry. When your team is basically an expansion team, you draft for value, not to fill holes. And I didn’t like the idea of drafting a guy at number one, and then moving him to another position. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Jason Smith with this pick if the Lions wanted to sign someone for less than what Stafford wanted, given the importance of left tackle and their low odds of being bust, but his agent’s conflict of interest prevented that from happening.

So why Stafford? Because he played in a pro-style offense against the toughest defenses in the country, has a strong enough arm to make all the throws, is adequately mobile, has a good memory, and showed consistent improvement in his 3 years at Georgia, finally reaching over 60 percent passing in his junior year. His total completion percentage was under 60 percent, but he started since his freshman year and improved every season. But what encourages me, and maybe I’m foolish for thinking I’m smart enough to ascertain this, is that he seems to have the intangibles that good quarterbacks do. He talks, acts, and just looks like a successful NFL QB. Something about the way he carries himself reminds me of Brett Favre, John Elway or Troy Aikman. I am not saying he’s going to be as good as those guys, but he has an air about him that reminds me of them. I can think of certain busts (Ryan Leaf, Joey Harrington, and Jeff George) who it was clear did not have that attitude. Drafting a QB in the 1st round is a 50/50 proposition at best, and no one really knows how to improve the odds (except maybe this guy), but I get the sense that Stafford has a better than average shot. Watching Stafford skeet shoot with a football:

was reminiscent of what Elway did during his Homecoming show with Rick Reilly. I’m not going to pretend to look into his eyes and get a sense of his soul, but I think he has a huge shot at succeeding.

His biggest negative is that he came out early (mitigated somewhat by being a 3 year starter) and that his accuracy was pretty inconsistent. Those are concerns, but if you're waiting for the perfect QB prospect to come around, you're going to draft a QB once every 20 years.


I foresee him getting little playing time this season, having a promising, yet inconsistent season in year 2, and making major strides in year 3, just as the Lions begin to form a respectable team. His arm strength is a perfect fit with Linehan’s offense and Calvin’s deep playmaking ability. Or he could be a bust and struggle to hold onto the starting job. But you have to try, and I think it is worth the risk at this point. Best case scenario he’s your franchise quarterback you can build around. Best case scenario for Aaron Curry: he’s a great middle linebacker. How many games did Patrick Willis win for the 49ers or Urlacher for the Bears last year? But most importantly, how many games did the Patriots lose because they had Matt Cassel instead of Brady?

For a REALLY early update on how Stafford looks, click here or here.  He'll be wearing number 9.



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