by Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends
The NFL Draft is behind us. Let’s check out the players and where they landed.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Did the Lions select Stafford because they believe he is a franchise Quarterback or did they take him to justify the price tag that comes with the number one pick? Probably a little bit of both. The NFL is a copycat league and the Lions saw what Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco did for the Falcons and Ravens respectively. Of course, Cleveland had success two years ago when they took Joe Thomas early and Miami did the same last year with Jake Long. The Tackles in this draft weren’t rated as high as Thomas or Long though. Aaron Curry, perhaps the best defensive player in the draft, ultimately wasn’t look at as a #1 type player. Stafford does have some things going for him. He has a big, strong arm and the Lions’ possess one of the game’s best WRs in Calvin Johnson. He doesn’t have to come in and play right away either as Daunte Culpepper is the starter for the moment. Will he eventually get some snaps? No doubt. Finally, the expectation level won’t be there. Yeah, he’s the number one pick, but when your team fails to win a game the previous year, the burden to win is delayed a couple years. If Stafford comes in late in the year and wins a couple games, the pressure will build for 2010, but that would be a good problem for Stafford and Lions’ fans.
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
The Jets made a bunch of moves the past two offseasons to win now. Ultimately it cost Eric Mangini his job. The Jets pretty much abandoned the draft this year, but they did come away with a potential franchise Quarterback in Sanchez. He has a great personality and the big stage of New York shouldn’t be a problem after playing “semi-pro” ball at USC. I would have liked to see them add a WR, but Sanchez will have plenty of weapons in Jerricho Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, Dustin Keller, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and the recently acquired Shonn Greene. Sanchez should be given the opportunity to win the job right away as Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, and Erik Ainge aren’t very seasoned.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This pick doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Tampa has three decent QBs on the roster in Luke McCown, Brian Griese, and Byron Leftwich and one prospect in Josh Johnson, though Griese will likely be cut loose. With some of the players that were available like Jeremy Maclin, Robert Ayers, Clay Matthews, etc., I don’t see what the Bucs were thinking. Maybe Raheem Morris wanted to put his stamp on the team by drafting his QB. I don’t see him making any contributions this year. If McCown wins the job and has a Derek Anderson type season a QB controversy is bound to happen as Tampa will feel obligated to justify the contract. The best scenario for Freeman and the Tampa Bay front office would be for Leftwich to win the job, as he is not a long-term answer. Then they could groom Freeman to take over in a year or two.
Pat White, Miami Dolphins – Drafted as a WR, but will likely get some snaps in the Wildcat formation. He’s a heck of an athlete that has underrated passing ability.
Stephen McGee, Dallas Cowboys - Local kid that the ‘Boys can groom to be Romo’s backup and eventual replacement. Little, if any, value this year.
Rhett Bomar, New York Giants - Bomar will at best be groomed to hold Eli Manning’s clipboard when the G-Men are done with David Carr. He will have to compete with Andre’ Woodson for the third spot on the depth chart.
Nate Davis, San Francisco 49ers - This was an intriguing fifth round selection. The 49ers aren’t exactly stocked at the QB position. Who knows, in a couple years Davis could be lobbing the ball up to Michael Crabtree.
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