Whole NFL Thinks Lions Will Pick Georgia QB Matthew Stafford First
That doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen – remember when everyone thought the Texans would draft Reggie Bush? – but it does mean that other teams are getting prepared for the draft with the thought that the only way they can get Stafford is by trading up for the Lions' pick, something that few teams seem inclined to do.
The thinking of the people I've talked to basically goes like this:
-- Lions coach Jim Schwartz, general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand are not under pressure from owner William Clay Ford to turn the Lions into winners right away. They think they have time to draft a quarterback and develop him.
-- The Lions have two first-round picks, the first overall and the 20th overall. They'd be more likely to take a quarterback first and a player at another position 20th than to take a player at another position first and hope there's a good quarterback around at No. 20.
-- No one has much confidence in the quarterbacks under contract to the Lions for 2009: Jon Kitna, Drew Stanton, Drew Henson, Daunte Culpepper.
-- Of the quarterbacks in the 2009 draft, Stafford has the best physical tools for the kind of offense that new coordinator Scott Linehan wants to run. In Linehan's ideal world, he'll build an offense around a quarterback throwing deep balls to Calvin Johnson, and Stafford can definitely do that.
Add it all up, and we get the conventional wisdom that Matthew Stafford is going to be the franchise savior of the 0-16 Detroit Lions.