NFL Draft Preview :: Matthew Stafford
Drafting University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick in the NFL draft might just put the Detroit Lions back on the road to victory.
When the teams of the NFL convene for their annual amateur draft April 25-26, the first pick will go to the Detroit Lions. The sad sack Lions' record setting 0-16 mark in 2008 give the club the first choice in the NFL draft, and a chance to build a foundation for their future. As one might imagine, a team that loses every game has a lot of holes to fill. But the biggest hole they need to fill is the most important one: quarterback.
Most predictions are that the Lions will use that pick on Matthew Stafford, a junior quarterback from the University of Georgia. Unlike former first over-all NFL Draft picks like John Elway and Eli Manning who insisted on being traded instead of playing for an awful team, Stafford actually wants to play in Detroit.
“I would love to go to Detroit, ” he told Spots Illustrated. “The Lions have passionate fans [and] a great stadium.” He also mentioned that the Lions have talented players that he would enjoy playing with.
As to the fact he would be playing for a team that did not win a single game last year, and that he would have the extra pressure that comes with being counted on as a savior of the franchise, Stafford responded, “I’m a competitive guy”.
Stafford set a University of Georgia record with 25 touchdowns passes this past season. If, indeed, he does go first over-all then the pressure of lifting an NFL franchise that could not get any lower, will fall squarely on his shoulders.
Traditionally, young NFL quarterbacks have not played well in their rookie seasons. However, the success of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, last year’s NFL offensive rookie of the year, set a new standard for performance by a first year signal caller. Stafford hopes to emulate Ryan by bringing his downtrodden team to the playoffs too.
The Lions, or whatever NFL team is lucky enough to land him, hope Stafford’s enthusiasm, competitiveness and talent make him a safe pick to become a player worthy of his lofty draft position.
According to Sports illustrated, Stafford even challenged the Lions to draft him. “Let’s go! I’m ready!” He said.