Posts Tagged ‘Drew Stanton’

The Countdown Continues: #4

October 14, 2009

Now that the Lions have franchise quarterback Matt Stafford in the fold, the question of who would replace the Lions’ most prolific (and I use that term rather loosely) quarterback of the past 20 years, Scott Mitchell, has finally been answered.

However, before the Lions anointed Stafford as the chosen one atop the first round of the 2009 draft, the GM-who-shall-not-be-named attempted to outsmart his counterparts by snagging a local collegiate product in the 2007 draft to potentially become the answer to the Lions QB woes.

And thus, without further ado, we reach the #4 spot on this most dubious of lists:

#4  Drew Stanton (quarterback, Michigan St.): 2nd round, pick #43, 2007.

FAIL

FAIL

This particular draft pick was wrong for oh so many reasons.

First, Stanton was, like the aforementioned Dizon, a substantial reach in the early 2nd round.

A homegrown product from Farmington Hills, MI and Michigan St., Stanton accrued a miserable 7-17 record in Big Ten games during his 3 years at State.

In his first two years at MSU, Stanton tossed 30 TD passes against 18 picks.

Those numbers cratered dramatically in his third and final season, in which he threw 12 TD passes and was intercepted 10 times, all while dealing with a shoulder injury.

Now, clearly, the shoulder injury took a major toll on Stanton’s chances for a productive final season in East Lansing, but, in classic Lions fashion, Stanton still ascended the team’s draft board, despite an unproductive, injury riddled final season.

Since he transitioned to the NFL, Stanton’s career stats are paltry: 9-17, 119 yards, 1:0 TD:INT ratio, and he’s been sacked a whopping 6 times in limited action.

Wait, those guys were available?!

Aside from a complete lack of productivity on the NFL level, the other fact which serves to cement Stanton’s place in recent Lions’ lore is what the Lions passed up in order to draft him.

Now, it’s easy to go back through any draft and find mid and late-round gems that teams kick themselves for not taking once they see how productive these players become, but in this instance, it’s not just the talent of these two players the Lions passed on to take Stanton.

It’s where they’re from.

Just three picks after the Stanton selection, the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the finer organizations in the NFL, scooped up defensive end/linebacker LaMarr Woodley, a University of Michigan star and Saginaw native.

Bigfoot, the Lochness Monster, a Detroit Lion defender gracing the cover of SI; oh, what could have been!

Things you may never see in a lifetime: Bigfoot, the Lochness Monster, a Detroit Lion defender gracing the cover of SI; oh, what could have been!

So, while Stanton was coming off an injury-plagued, decidedly subpar final season at MSU, Woodley was coming off a dominant final season in Ann Arbor.

He took home the Lombardi Award as the nation’s top lineman (offensive or defensive) in 2006, racking up a team-high 12 sacks while leading a defense that was as potent as any in the nation prior to a pair of late-season losses to Ohio St. and USC.

As if passing on Woodley wasn’t bad enough (I mean, it’s not like the Lions needed help on defense, anyway), the New York Jets seamlessly added insult to injury when they grabbed David Harris with the very next pick in the draft.

Harris, a linebacker, played right alongside Woodley at U of M and is a native of Grand Rapids.

He led Michigan in tackles in 2005 and 2006, and was a 2nd-team All American in his senior season.

In 2007, the Lions needed a linebacker. As a result, they drafted Drew Stanton

In 2007, the Lions needed a linebacker. As a result, they drafted Drew Stanton, not this former Wolverine stud

So, for clarity sake, let’s quickly recap the scenario here:

Stanton, Woodley, and Harris are three Michigan natives who became products of a pair of prominent in-state football programs.

Stanton put together an injury-plagued, subpar final season, while Woodley and Harris were stellar in their final seasons.

The Lions were in need of defensive help, as they have been for years (and years, and years).

So, flying in the face of logic, common sense, pragmatism, and just about anything related to football sense, the Lions took Stanton.

Not Woodley. Not Harris.

Woodley has since won a Super Bowl.

Harris has since put together a couple strong seasons and is currently a key cog in the defensive revival taking place in New York.

Stanton is the third string quarterback for the Detroit Lions.

…Stay tuned for #3…

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Matt Stafford’s our guy, but should he be?

September 22, 2009

As the Lions practice this week, already in an 0-2 hole that involved one crushing defeat and one NFC North defeat at the hands of Judas Favre, HC Jim Schwartz has already had to go on the defensive about the decision to anoint Matt Stafford as the team’s starting quarterback.

This, of course, leads to the inevitable question: Should a team, coming off the worst season in NFL history, be starting a rookie quarterback?

matthew-stafford-drafted-by-the-detroit-lions

There are 72 million reasons why this man should be protected at all costs

 Here’s where things get a little, well, complicated

 On the one hand, the Lions’ other options aren’t all that enticing.

 Daunte Culpepper, a quarterback who I’ve always really admired, has been too beaten down by injury (in some cases, carpet-related injuries) to be the answer. He hasn’t managed to play in more than 7 games since ’04 (not ironically, his last effective season as a QB).

Drew Stanton, one of the unfathomable number of former GM’s (he who shall not be named, ever, in these pages) failed draft picks, has also been unable to shake the injury bug and, in limited action, hasn’t proven that he can be a QB on this level.

On the other hand, the Lions decided to make an unprecedented investment in their franchise quarterback of the future and thus, they have to be extremely careful not to physically or mentally scar their most expensive player.

 

Can Stafford avoid becoming like this infamous, piano-playing former Lion?

Can Stafford avoid becoming like this infamous, piano-playing former Lion?

So, you might ask, what’s the verdict here?

Certainly, Bobby Layne isn’t going to emerge from the shadows and lace up his cleats. Not even Scott Mitchell, who sadly has become the contemporary model of success for the Lions, is going to ride in on a white horse and save the day.

Bereft of Lions’ “greats” (and, aside from Layne, I use that term quite loosely), HC Schwartz is going to have to play Stafford. The other options are simply fillers and, by all accounts, it seems like Stafford is mentally capable of handling the grind of leading a losing team in his first NFL season.

So, although it would’ve been ideal to have Stafford learn from the sidelines for a season, at this point, he’s receiving the rare opportunity to learn on the job.

Although he’s certainly looked like a rookie at times (re: 1:5 TD/INT ratio through 2 games), if the Lions’ makeshift O-Line can keep him relatively unscathed, he should have the opportunity to flourish sooner rather than later.

It's only a matter of time before this off-the-field success is joined by on-the-field glory

It's only a matter of time before this off-the-field success is joined by on-the-field glory