Stafford: savior or failure?

By Jonathan Aviles

I remember the 1999 NFL Draft vividly. I was sitting in my room
in front of the TV, and for some reason I had planned to document
the entire draft by writing all the picks down in my notebook.

I watched as the second installment of the Cleveland Browns
chose University of Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch as the first
overall pick.

This particular draft was loaded with signal callers, as five of
the first 12 picks were quarterbacks.

Ten years later, the first overall pick of this year’s NFL Draft
is once again a Southeastern Conference quarterback.

This year’s first overall pick, Matthew Stafford, has been given
the lofty task of saving the Detroit Lions franchise.

According to ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., Stafford can make
all the throws of an NFL quarterback. During his freshman year at
Georgia he was nicknamed “howitzer” because of his ability to throw
the ball with excellent velocity.

While stats and scouting reports are nice, drafting a
quarterback first overall has always been a risky move.

In the past, the first overall pick has been used as a way of
salvaging a franchise. Remember the 1998 NFL Draft when Peyton
Manning was taken by the Indianapolis Colts?

Unfortunately, more times than not, picking a quarterback first
overall doesn’t translate to Manning-like success.

For example, take the Tim Couch pick in 1999. He never lived up
to his potential and derailed the Browns’ plans of a bright
future.

Same goes for the Houston Texans, who selected quarterback David
Carr first overall in the 2002 draft. Carr never led the Texans
anywhere and is now the backup with the New York Giants.

Let’s not forget the San Francisco 49ers’ pick of Alex Smith in
the 2005 draft. The Utah product, like Carr and Couch, never lived
up to expectations and his failures have limited his franchise’s
ability to compete.

Right now, it’s tough to predict if Stafford fails miserably, or
succeeds in saving the Lions from relative obscurity.

But I’ll go with the stats this time and say he’s another failed
draft pick.

Reach Jonathan Aviles at sports@thepolypost.com

No Manny needed here

No Manny needed here

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