Caught up recently with someone who watched top overall pick Matthew Stafford in his preseason debut for the Lions over the weekend, and he says he would start the kid from jump street.
Stafford’s stat line wasn’t all that sexy — 7 of 14 for 114 yards a TD and an INT (that was returned for a TD) — but the scout said there were three to five passes that should have been caught, and he came away very impressed. He also said Stafford is a perfect quarterback for that black-and-blue NFC North and liked pretty much everything he saw from the kid.
What in particular caught his eye? “His mechanics, ball placement, arm strength, accuracy. The way he went through his route progressions. He’s the total package.” When I asked the scout if he would start the rookie from Week 1, he said, “definitely,” and likened Stafford to Matt Ryan, last year’s rookie sensation for the Falcons.
Yes, there are lessons for Stafford to learn — like the awkward throw that was easily picked off — but that comes only with experience.
I also asked the scout if he thought the Lions have a sufficient offensive line to keep the kid upright, and he thought so. “They have two first-round picks at right tackle and left tackle, a second-round pick at center who is pretty darn good. Guards are OK. Elite tight end and wideout.”
So, the scout believes the weapons are there to roll with the youngster. We’ll see how the next few preseason games unfold, but barring a major reversal, Stafford might be the next kid passer to get under center right away.