More Reasons for the Chiefs Not to Draft Matthew Stafford

For a more positive look at Matthew Stafford, make sure you check out ChiefDJ's post from January. -Chris

We're fair and balanced here so make your own judgments about Matthew Stafford after watching this "Getting to Know" him video.

The reasons for the Kansas City Chiefs to draft a quarterback may be mounting but the reasons that the quarterback should be Matt Stafford might be dwindling. 

We've intentionally left Matthew Stafford off of the front page for the most part here at AP. You guys have been doing a great job breaking him down in the FanPosts and I've linked some of those at the bottom.

I think the Stafford talk will die off as draft day approaches because it seems more and more that the Detroit Lions will draft him.

Let's examine some of the reasons why Georgia QB Matthew Stafford is a risky pick for the Chiefs.

Football Outsiders' Numbers

Though each quarterback should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, Matt Stafford's college numbers place him in, as Football Outsiders called it, some "uninspiring" company.

QBs similar to Stafford
Quarterback Starts Comp Pct.
Patrick Ramsey 38 58.9
Jake Plummer 40 55.4
Shaun King 39 55.5
J.P. Losman 27 57.8
Matt Ryan* 32 59.9
Matt Stafford 33 57.1

*Read the section on Matt Ryan in the article linked below.

It's important to read this piece from Football Outsiders that basically says the two stats that best translate from college to the pros are completion percentage and games started.

Over the past 12 years, teams have repeatedly drafted players who haven't shown the ability to consistently complete passes at the college level, and these players have consistently failed. For some reason, scouts expected players such as Kyle Boller (48 percent), Jim Druckenmiller (54 percent) and Ryan Leaf (54 percent) to suddenly figure out how to complete passes once they hit the NFL. Having a high completion percentage (60 percent or higher) is no guarantee of success, especially if it was done in a small number of games in a fluky system (Tim Couch being a strong example), but it is a prerequisite for it.

As to why games started should be an indicator of NFL success, there is a fairly obvious explanation -- good players start games. No one knows a player better than his coach, and if a coach decides he's good enough to start as a freshman, that's a good sign. Playing time also provides experience, which is crucial to the development of a young quarterback.

I'm not a film expert and my experience with watching Matt Stafford comes from a handful of games live and YouTube videos. That said, why would the Chiefs go against the grain and expect Matt Stafford to "get it", as David Lewin of FO says in his article above, prior to the 2008 draft.

A popular argument for Stafford is that when your team doesn't have a "franchise guy", you should do anything to get him.  Stafford is rated as the best quarterback in the 2009 draft class by most of the scouts.

Counter argument: Matt Ryan appears to be a solid player who had similar college numbers (but he also threw 654 passes to Stafford's 383).

Numbers Over Scouts

Stafford's numbers cited by Football Outsiders don't bode well for future stardom in the NFL. Could it happen? Sure.

But why not select someone who, per FO's numbers, has a similar chance of success?  Less risk, more value.

Unimpressive Stats

Besides the Football Outsiders emphasis on games started and completion percentage, Stafford's college numbers simply aren't at the level they need to be to warrant a top five draft pick.

YEAR CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2006 135 256 1749 52.7 6.83 53 7 13 12 108.99
2007 194 348 2523 55.7 7.25 84 19 10 15 128.92
2008 235 383 3459 61.4 9.03 78 25 10 17 153.54

The thing with college stats is that there are a million excuses why a player can have sub par stats. And the opposite is true as well. You have your system QBs that play weak competition that put up monster stats. Competition is varied enough in the NCAA to allow for a myriad of arguments why a player's stats don't really mean what they appear to.

So, are you impressed with Stafford's rather low TD passing numbers? Or are you willing to attribute some of those lower numbers to some theoretical reason and look past them?

Counter argument: His numbers have been improving for three straight years.

His position inflates his draft status

Did you ever wonder why, even though the consensus among fans may be the opposite, that certain players just seem to sit at the top of draft board for no other reason than they're a quarterback? I think USC's Mark (not Matt!) Sanchez is a great example of that this year with many a mock draft picking Sanchez at the #3 spot for the Chiefs.

I think Matthew Stafford's draft position is inflated because of his position. The venerable Jon Yoon over at Home of the Chiefs said this same thing back in November:

But I also have reservations about Stafford because I think his draft status is inflated only because he's the QB. The last time a QB wasn't taken in the top 5 was in 2000. In that time, players like Jamarcus Russell and Alex Smith and Vince Young were drafted high not because they were the best player in the class, but because they were the best QB. That's what scares me about Stafford. Unlike Eli Manning and Carson Palmer, he doesn't feel like a "can't miss" pick. He strikes me more like a Jamarcus Russell or a Jeff George--a player with a rifle of an arm that still hasn't proven to you that he's a good decision maker. If he's throwing over 10 picks in college, that doesn't bode well for the NFL level, when decision making is 100 times more difficult. Don't draft a QB for the sake of drafting a QB.

The Chiefs don't necessarily need one of these guys in 2009 to be their franchise QB. We have the luxury of seeing where Tyler Thigpen progresses or patching up the offense with a veteran for a year or two until we get the QB we want.

Counter argument: QB is the most important position on the field.

***

From casually browsing sports news, the general consensus is that Matthew Stafford is a risky pick for a team with a top five pick. Let us know what you think about the Chiefs drafting Stafford in the poll below.

***

Read more on AP about Matthew Stafford:

The Kansas City Chiefs QB of the Future (aPacificChief)

Georgia QB Matthew Stafford Reportedly Entering NFL Draft (UCrawford)

Matt Stafford "may not" Work Out at the NFL Combine (dkugler838)

 

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