Quite a few of the more prominent talking heads think that either the Lions will draft Stafford or that they should. Scott Wright of DraftCountdown went as far as to call for seven years bad luck if Detroit passes on Stafford. The absurdity was he was completely serious, however he worded it, even though regardless of how good Stafford becomes passing on him would be nothing more than a missed opportunity, not a fate-determining outcome. The most famous example was Portland passing on Jordan, but we aren't often reminded that the Trailblazers became a dominant team pretty quickly anyway, making it to the Finals before his Airness got past the Pistons.
But this isn't about that.
I can come up with a different argument for every day of the month as to why Stafford should not be the #1 overall pick. And I'm pretty sure I have. He will be one of the youngest quarterbacks ever drafted in the first round, true junior, accuracy issues, seems to freeze up under pressure, never took his team to the next level, lacks ideal height and so on.
But when it comes down to it, none of these arguments matter all that much, regardless of their historical correlation to poor outcomes. If a guy has it, he has it, and probably doesn't need that fourth year. Drew Bledsoe had it, he spend exactly three years in college, had fewer starts than Stafford and took New England to a Super Bowl in his third or fourth year (maybe fifth, don't feel like looking it up). So maybe Stafford has it too. Maybe the accuracy issues and other collegiate limitations will disappear with maturity.
But I don't buy it.
I think this argument has been lurking in the back of my head from the beginning, but only blossomed a couple of days ago.
Sure, Mel Kiper and Scott Wright swear by Stafford. Sure McShay amd Mayock are resigned to the Lions drafting him. Sure, Gil Brandt thinks they should. Sure Terry Shea has nice things to say about the kid. Sure.
But not one of these guys works for an NFL team. This doesn't invalidate their opinions, of course, but they aren't adequate evidence of how NFL teams actually feel about Stafford. And just a couple of days ago, it occurred to me exactly how teams outside of Detroit feel about him.
If Stafford is really that special then why isn't anyone picking up the phone? Why isn't Denver jumping at the chance to dump Cutler and replace him with Stafford. Why aren't there rumors about Cleveland or Jacksonville or San Francisco or anyone displaying interest in the guy?
Two years ago there were all kinds of trade rumors, for both the first and second pick. Some teams were rumored to want to trade for the #1 for Russell, others to get ahead of Detroit for Johnson, others to move into the #2, or whatever. Where are this year's rumors? I know it's early, I know Stafford is just having his pro day tomorrow, I know things are yet to heat up, but no rumors at all? Not one?
On top of this, I read a lot of speculation of where Stafford will be drafted if Detroit passes. No one thinks he will go to Seattle or Kansas City. A few people think Cleveland at #4 or Jax at #8 or San Francisco at #10 might consider a quarterback. Might.
On the other hand, if Detroit passes on Curry he won't fall any further than fourth. Likewise Jason Smith. And by historical standards, those guys really aren't great prospects. But Stafford might slip out of the top ten? Doesn't this inform us that he is more of a #15 - #25 guy than a #1 guy?
Unless other teams start showing some interest in drafting him with a premium pick I will remain convinced that for Detroit to invest their first pick in him would be a terrible mistake.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009