Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Stafford or To Stanton? [updated]

The Detroit Lions are out there selling QB at #1 overall for all they are worth. Drew Sharp nails it right on the head when he says they are doing a great job attempting to build the market value of #1 overall.

While I am happy they are doing so, there are a number of pros and cons to a QB in the first round, much less #1 overall.

That is not my topic today. (Fooled you, didn't I?) It will wait for later.

Whenever draftniks are looking at players to be drafted, they love to say "he is the next... [insert pro-bowl or HOF player here, despite relevance]" and then throw out statistics to "back it up."

So I decided to have a quick bit of fun with this. See, according to their best year in college only, Matthew Stafford is the next...Drew Stanton.

Stats for each player's best year

Drew 2005
completions 236
attempts 354
yards 3077
completion % 66.7
TDs 22
Ints 12
sacks 24
rating 153.41

Stafford 2008
completions 235
attempts 383
yards 3459
completion % 61.4
TDs 25
Ints 10
sacks 17
rating 153.54


Then, take into account whom each player was surrounded by. Stanton had...ummm... I think there is another player from that offense in the NFL. I think.

Stafford had beyond doubt a much stronger Oline, and supporting cast (including a likely 1st round RB) than Stanton. This isn't to compare them directly, but statistically speaking, a Stafford who did the same with less is already on the roster! And he was never out there covering kicks either...

JJLions20 posted a great overview on "what makes an NFL QB" in the comments of yesterday's story that bears repeating (great comments there - always be sure to read the comments as they are usually very insightful)

In my book, there are four factors to being a Pro QB. You need to have two of the four to get a shot at starting in the pro’s, three of the four to be successful , and all four to be a star. They are as follows:

• Athletic Ability. It first comes with a big league arm. One who can make the throws, and/or the legs for mobility. This is what is easiest measured at the combine and individual workouts.

• Leadership. Some call it the IT factor, or the intangibles. The willingness to work harder than everybody else and lead by example.

• Accuracy. For some reason which I don't understand this is not as easy to evaluate coming from college to the pro's. Somehow supposedly accurate passers in college can't hit a receiver in the pro's. It may be the speed of the game and the small windows to throw into that is the difference.

• Decision Making. The ability to read defenses, go though progressions and make decisions under pressure.

If the Lions are looking at Stafford or Sanchez as the #1 overall pick they better be sure they have three of the 4 factors locked down. A College QB with 2 of the four is not a high 1st rounder. Looking at these two I think they both have the Athletic Ability, and that will prove out in the work-outs. So one down two to go.

The next factor is leadership. It’s a question mark in my mind with both of these guys. Stafford could not lead his team or will his team to victory in the big games. Sanchez may have shown a little more but it’s hard to evaluate being surrounded by a lot of NFL ready players. Lets remember though that USC Players are not known for their work ethic. It’s more of a country club atmosphere at USC.

Accuracy is the next factor to look at. Stafford has shown inconsistency in this area during his college career. He would look bad for a quarter or two then light it up for a while. To me this is a big red flag. The windows are smaller and the players are quicker in the NFL. Typically inconsistent QB’s in college make mistakes and get eaten alive in the NFL. [see Joey Harrington, David Carr] With Sanchez the knock is his talent was so great around him his inaccuracy was hidden.

The hardest of the four factors to evaluate is the Decision Making. College offences are so simplistic compared to the Pro offences, a college QB can not be evaluated by his college play. I don’t think it can be evaluated properly although there are some things that can weed out some players. The Wunderlich test for one. Video games to test reaction times. My problem with Drafting Stafford or Sanchez is I only see one of the four factors so far. It’s up to Schwartz, Harris, & Mayhew to determine if he has two of the other three factors. I just don’t see either of these guys having what it takes for the #1 pick. One last comment, I would agree that Stanton had two of the four factors (Athletic Ability & Leadership) making him a 2nd rounder. But without the accuracy and/or decision making ability he’s not going to be a starter in the NFL. [I think he has accuracy, but his decision making needs to improve. To me, that is the most important of the 4. It's not just about being able to make the throws, but knowing when and where.]

When you look at the technical ratings, etc. Stafford is rated right about where Drew was 2 years ago -- the only difference is who else is available. No Jamarcus Russell. (And how has that turned out for Oakland so far? Keep in mind, Russell was "head and shoulders" above the other QB's the year he came out... and was rated higher in most every category than Stafford is coming out of college...)

In high school, there were two different bands once we entered the concert season. The Symphonic Band was the top players from grades 10-12. The Concert Band was everyone else who still wanted to be in band. So even if you were first chair (top player) in the Concert Band, it still meant you weren't as good as the worst player in the Symphonic Band.

Keep this in mind as draft mania enters full swing, and remember that the hype is just that -- hype. I'll leave you today with a quote from Football Outsiders:

"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."

- Bill Barnwell, Football Outsiders

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was posted by the Wise Chief last article:

CHIEFGER139 said...
I guess I dont get it, I see what nubs is saying and can see it in some of the draft boards-guards, kickers other positions arent even listed till you get past 30 on the list but curry-a linebacker is rated number 2 on scout.com stafford is 7 and sanchez 5 so why couldnt mayhew get curry and the pick be worth the money-by the way crabtree is number one-
then fill a major need with a potential superstar and wait for the better qb's to come out next year??
im not sold on stafford either-but hes the 1st guy there bringin in to look at and it sure looks like hes the man.

February 17, 2009 6:44 AM

I agree Chief...
Gasoline was $1.25 when oil was $40 a barrel three years ago. Right now gasoline is around $2.00, even though barrels are at $40 again. The market is still artificially inflated.

How better to make your case for a guy (and a trade for him) than to artificially inflate his market value. QB is the one commodity that people can't get enough of (kinda like gasoline). And even though the market is at a low (with quality) it is also low on quantity, the price for QB's is still out there because Minnesota can't win, Brett Favre retired, and all the other factors. If the Lions can "pump" Stafford's value, then trade out at the last second to #2, #3, or #4 and still get Curry............."Brilliant!"