I Hope Detroit Drafts Matthew Stafford

Since the Packers are in no way considering drafting Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, I haven't been reading too much about him. But I have been wondering if he's turning pro early before teams find out he isn't that good.

His selection does affect the Packers since he's widely expected to be taken 1st overall by Detroit.

I'm not a fan of drafting underclassmen QBs. It's more likely that the college QBs who start a lot of games (thereby gaining a lot of playing experience), and prove they can start basically from the moment they set foot on campus, are the really good ones. But since the Packers did pretty well last season with a QB who left college early, that line of thinking probably doesn't hold a lot of water among most Packer fans.

Stafford is 6'3" 236 lbs. and apparently a very good athlete, I've seen some nifty highlight real plays. He's got the physical tools to succeed in the NFL. But so did Ryan Leaf

David Lewin writes for Football Outsiders.com and his college QB projection system is among the best. He is not kind to Stafford's NFL future:

In his three seasons at Georgia, Stafford started 33 games and completed 57.1 percent of the passes he threw. That puts him in some pretty uninspiring company.


QBs similar to Stafford
Quarterback Starts Comp Pct.
Patrick Ramsey 38 58.9
Jake Plummer 40 55.4
Shaun King 39 55.5
J.P. Losman 27 57.8
Matt Ryan 32 59.9
Matt Stafford 33 57.1

Yes, reigning rookie of the year Matt Ryan appears on that list, but with a bit of an asterisk. Ryan played for a Boston College team that had no running game and threw 654 passes in his final season, skewing his completion percentage some. Even if Ryan doesn't come with an asterisk, a one-in-five shot of picking a quarterback of Ryan's caliber shouldn't encourage Stafford's selection in the slightest.

One of the arguments against a statistical-based system for projecting college quarterbacks is that a system quarterback such as former Hawaii star Colt Brennan would put up inflated numbers that weren't true indicators of his NFL ability. Although scouts should sniff that stuff out and encourage teams to avoid taking such players in the first two rounds (something Lewin built into his system), another easy way to control for system quarterbacks is to compare the quarterback to the previous starter at his school.

Stafford was directly preceded at Georgia by the recently retired David Greene; both spent their entire college careers under head coach Mark Richt in similar offensive systems. Stafford's college numbers are actually worse than Greene's, with the latter completing 59 percent of his passes and averaging 8.01 yards per attempt to Stafford's 7.83. If Stafford was really a star in the making, wouldn't he have put up better numbers, in the same system, than a guy who washed out of the NFL without taking a professional snap? If it was our $25 million guaranteed, the answer would need to be yes.

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