Since I don't get home till late and Primetime's excellent post is nearly off the front page already, I decided to put my rebuttal in a fanpost.
Accuracy in Elite QBs
I always remember a very good FanPost by UCrawford some time back (sorry I couldn't find the post to link it Crawford) about how a QBs accuracy in college is often directly relative to how successful a QB will likely be in the NFL.
This excerpt from Primetime's post talks about much the same thing:
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.
While Staffords career completion % is sub-60s, you can see that not only has his completion percentage increased, but increased rather dramatically each year:
Some of that may be natural maturity, some of it may have to do with coaching (Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt previously coached two Heisman Trophy winners while coaching at Florida St). Also remember that the SEC is one of the toughest conferences in college football, producing many NFL players.
But let's look at Stafford's accuracy in comparison to the other NFL busts that are in the quote:
Freshman -couldn't find-
So comparing Stafford to Ryan Leaf and Kyle Boller is not exactly doing anyone justice. He has not had spikes up and down though his college career of say a Josh Freeman.
Also if you look at the game by game completion % of Stafford his Junior year, you will see that he did not have a couple of really good games that skewed his completion %. Of the 12 games his Junior season, he had 8 games where he threw for over 60% and 4 where he was under 60%. Only one in which he threw for less than 55%.
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?
It's true that there are always reasons or excuses (depending on your point of view) for a QBs successes or failures.
Reasons could include that Stafford never had a decent playmaking WR to throw to until AJ Green came along as a Freshman during Staffords Junior year. Or the fact that Georgia played in a Pro Style offense that had a nice mixture of rushing and passing as opposed to the Spread offense that is putting up gaudy numbers for Graham Harrell and Colt Brennan.
Are his TD numbers compared to other QBs that played in a Pro Style offense really that low?
Sophomore - 348 Att - 19 TD --- 5.45 TD%
Junior - 383 Att - 25 TD ------ 6.52 TD%
Sophomore - 195 Att - 8 TD ------- 4.10 TD%
Junior - 425 - 15 TD ------------- 3.52 TD%
Sophomore - 380 Att - 22 TD ---- 5.78 TD%
Junior - 380 Att - 20 TD ----------- 5.26 TD%
OF COURSE I'm not comparing Matt Stafford to Peyton Manning. Simply using it as a comparison to the numbers all of these guys put up their Sophomore and Junior years to gauge whether Stafford's numbers really are poor or not.
In the case of both Manning and Ryan, their Senior year was the year they really took off. Manning getting 37 TDs and Ryan 31 TDs. Of course Stafford is coming out as a Junior, so we won't have the advantage of seeing whether he would have put up similar numbers or not.
Is Stafford "worth" the #3 pick?
That is a question impossible to answer right now. At the time, Tom Brady was not worth a 1st round pick, but looking back he would be #1 without question. At the time there were many who thought Ryan Leaf should have been picked #1, but looking back now no one would have ever drafted him.
Will Matt Stafford lead the Chiefs to multiple Super Bowls over his career? If so I think EVERYONE would say he is worth a #3 pick. If he ends up having a mediocre career, then obviously not. But no one knows what Stafford will do, so its impossible to answer. All we can do is take our best guess. But if he is going to be a bust, it wouldn't matter if we were taking him at #32, it would still be a wasted pick. But if he IS that caliber QB that can lead the Chiefs to multiple Super Bowls, isn't that worth whatever it takes? Wouldn't you take that chance over just having a mediocre 3rd round QB that cost less?
There is a lot of voodoo involved in drafting a QB. We often look back with the benefit of hindsight and think that Peyton Manning was an easy pick and how stupid the Chargers were for drafting Ryan Leaf. But if you look back at articles written at the time, there were many who thought Ryan Leaf was going to be the better pro QB. :)
The truth is no one knows how Stafford will do in the NFL anymore than anyone knew how Manning or Leaf would do at the time. Many look at Sam Bradford and say we should wait next year for him. But will we be picking at #1 or 2 next year? Hopefully not!
We need to look at where the Chiefs are now and the likelihood they will be in a position to draft a legitimate NFL prospect in the future. With the prevalence of the Spread in college football, there are going to be lots of gaudy numbers put up by players completely unequipped to succeed in the NFL.
If Pioli believes Stafford has the makings of a good NFL QB, he MUST take him because who knows when the next opportunity to draft a legitimate starter will come along?