Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford (QB)
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 225
College: Georgia
Conference: SEC
Hometown: Dallas, TX
High School: Highland Park
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Detroit Lions
Round: 1
Pick (Overall): 1 (1)
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Pick Analysis: The Lions land their franchise quarterback with the selection of Stafford. Though there was some debate about whether the former Bulldog would be their guy, the team wrapped up negotiations on a six-year, $78 million contract, with $41.7 million in guarantees. As a classic pocket passer with excellent arm strength, he gives the team a legitimate quarterback to build an offense around.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

Considered the most NFL-ready quarterback in the 2009 draft, Stafford has been the unquestioned leader of the Bulldogs offense since taking over the starting signal-caller duties as a freshman. In 34 starting assignments, the junior compiled a 27-7 record (.794) at Georgia. He would close out his collegiate career ranking third on the school's all-time record list for yards passing (7,731), pass attempts (987), completed passes (564), touchdown passes (51), touchdowns responsible for (57), and yards in total offense (7,944).


Blessed with top arm strength, Stafford has a compact and quick delivery that allows him to get the ball off on time. He is the classic drop-back passer who gets proper depth and shows good footwork dropping back from center to efficiently scan the field and locate his open target.


Stafford was a standout at Highland Park High School. The Parade, Super Prep and USA Today All-American was rated as the best prep passer in the country by Rivals.com and ranked second nationally by both Scout.com and ESPN. He added Prep Star Top 100 honors and that recruiting service ranked him third in the country at his position.


Stafford was a three-time All-State selection, adding Gatorade Player of the Year, EA Sports National Player of the Year and Dallas Morning News Area Offensive Player of the Year accolades as a senior. He received a five-star prospect rating from both Scout.com and Rivals.com, in addition to being chosen Class AAAA Player of the Year by Dave Campbell's Texas Football and Class AAAA "Mr. Texas Football" recognition from TexasFootball.com.


Stafford threw for 4,018 yards on 209-of-322 passing and 38 touchdowns, as he led his team to the Class AAAA championship, its first title since 1957. He also rushed for 212 yards and eight touchdowns on 42 carries. In the first round of the 2005 state playoffs, he rallied his team from a 17-0 deficit to win 38-31 with 411 yards passing and four touchdowns. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tom Landry Classic, a Student Sports All-American and All-District choice.


During his junior year, Stafford threw for 1,748 yards and 18 touchdowns, and was named to the Rivals.com Junior All-American Team. As a sophomore, he had 2,945 yards and 36 touchdown passes. Upon graduation, he was invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game and to the EA Sports Elite 11 Camp for the nation's top quarterbacks.


Stafford graduated from high school early and enrolled at Georgia in time to compete in 2005 spring drills. That extra time with the varsity saw the true freshman earn eight starting assignments, becoming the first Bulldog since Eric Zeier since 1991 to come out of high school and start for Georgia.


The Freshman All-Southeastern Conference choice compiled a 6-2 record in those contests. He was named the Offensive MVP of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, going on to gain 1,749 yards with seven touchdowns and thirteen interceptions, as he completed 135-of-256 passes (52.7%). He also scored three times on the ground, finishing with an average of 149.23 yards per game in total offense.


Stafford produced an 11-2 record in 13 starts during the 2007 season. His 84-yard touchdown vs. Florida was the longest pass completion in the SEC that year. He hit on 194-of-348 tosses (55.75%) for 2,523 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also scored on a pair of option runs.


Stafford was named a finalist for Manning Award and a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, both given to the nation's top passer. The second-team All-Southeastern Conference choice led the Bulldogs to a 10-3 record. He set school season-records for touchdown passes (25), yards gained per offensive play (8.27 yards per play) and yards in total offense (3,499). His 3,459 yards passing rank second on Georgia's annual record books, as his 235-of-383 passes placed him fourth on the school lists.


High School

Attended Highland Park (Dallas, Tex.) High School, playing football for head coach Randy Allen...Parade, Super Prep and USA Today All-American selection...Rated as the best prep passer in the country by Rivals.com and ranked second nationally by both Scout.com and ESPN...Added Prep Star Top 100 honors, as that recruiting service ranked him third in the country at his position...Three-time All-State selection, adding Gatorade Player of the Year, EA Sports National Player of the Year and Dallas Morning News Area Offensive Player of the Year accolades as a senior...Received a five-star prospect rating from both Scout.com and Rivals.com...Chosen Class AAAA Player of the Year by Dave Campbell's Texas Football...Named Class AAAA "Mr. Texas Football" from TexasFootball.com...As a senior, Stafford threw for 4,018 yards on 209 of 322 passing and 38 touchdowns, as he led his team to the Class AAAA championship, its first title since 1957...Also rushed for 212 yards and eight touchdowns on 42 carries...In the first round of the 2005 state playoffs, he rallied his team from a 17-0 deficit to win 38-31 with 411 yards passing and four touchdowns...Named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tom Landry Classic...Student Sports All-American and All-District choice after his final season...Upon graduation, he was invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game and to the EA Sports Elite 11 Camp for the nation's top quarterbacks...During his junior year, Stafford threw for 1,748 yards and 18 touchdowns, as he was named to the Rivals.com Junior All-American Team...As a sophomore, he had 2,945 yards and 36 touchdown passes.


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Analysis

Positives: A bit shorter than preferred, but has excellent bulk and strength for the position. Durable performer who never missed a collegiate game due to injury, despite a leaky offensive line. Efficient footwork and depth on his drop from center. Quick to scan the field and go through his progressions. Elite arm-strength. Can make any NFL pass, including flicking the ball 50 yards with defenders draped over his lower body. Consistently very good-to-excellent accuracy to all levels of the field. Consistently places the deep out on the far shoulder of his receiver, away from the defender. Consistently places the comeback route low and away. Good deep accuracy and trajectory. Lofts the ball high enough to allow his receiver to run under it. Aggressive, but has developed into a smarter passer over his career and will take what the defense gives him by dropping to his second and third options. Learning to look off defenders. Underrated core strength. Can complete passes with defenders draped over him. Keeps his eyes downfield and will step up in the pocket and is willing to take a hit to complete the pass. Surprisingly nimble in the pocket and can avoid the rush. Underrated straight-line speed and will take what the defense gives. Good intangibles. Has shown considerable improvement over his three seasons as a starter and takes the team's and his own success very seriously. Very competitive. Team captain. Undefeated in bowl games.


Negatives: Can get fundamentally lazy. Though he has an efficient overall release, should be able to speed it up for underneath screens passes to take better advantage of the surprise to the defense. Sloppy footwork at times and will get lazy and throw off his back foot. Willing to throw into tight spots, though more often than not he places the ball where it needs to be. Good, but not great accuracy on crossing routes. Too often leads his receivers too far or forces them to reach back, slowing their momentum and limiting their ability to generate yardage after the catch. Lacks the straight-line speed to be a true scrambling threat. Often stays too high on quarterback sneaks. Needs to get lower and show more leg drive in these situations.


Compares To: JAY CUTLER, Denver -- Stafford displays excellent arm strength. He is nimble moving around for a player his size, but is best throwing from the pocket than on the move. He could have used another year to work on improving his accuracy on underneath and crossing patterns and will never be a threat with his feet. Can be overconfident in his superb arm strength, but he can make all the throws and when he steps up in the pocket, a team that loves the vertical passing game could find the kind of success that Atlanta and Baltimore experienced with rookie quarterbacks in 2008.


Injury Report

No major injuries reported.


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