Coming out of high school, Matt Stafford was annointed by Mel Kipper as a future #1 draft pick in the NFL. We'll find out in a few months whether or not that prediction is accurate, but it won't be far off.
But what has Stafford done in his college career to earn that lofty draft status?
I am pretty good buddies with a guy who is a scout for an NFL team. Here are his knocks on Stafford:
- Overthrows the deep ball too much.
- When pressured, sometimes makes some really bad decisions.
- Sometimes struggles with short touch passes.
- Stafford's stats have been pretty average for 3 straight years.
But here's what I think Stafford has going for him:
- He played in a pro-style offense that will translate really well to most NFL offenses.
- His stats (especially his TD to TO ratio) improved significantly every year - (not coincidentally, so did his offensive line).
- His arm strength everyone is aware of. But its versatile arm strength. He can make every throw necessary. There were dozens of 3rd and longs this year where he made really tough passes and made em look easy.
- His composure. You'll never see this kid get rattled. Very steady.
- His size. Good height. While he gets accused of being a bit pudgy, he is really solid. Can take a hard hit.
- His mobility. This is something that folks who didn't watch UGA games don't know. He can run the ball when he needs to. Called his own number many times this year while running the sprint draw.
- His leadership. Started as a true freshmen and even then, the seniors said he was a guy people would follow.
If I were to add a one more item in the "con" list above, I'd say that it's pretty telling that you don't see a single starting QB in the NFL this year who came out early. (I don't actually even know if that's true, but I read it in many places.) I just think Stafford's actual play would have benefited from another year in college.
UGA has not produced an NFL starting QB since Quincy Carter (and he was a gem, huh?). I would love to see Stafford suceed. But its gonna take awhile. He's still got some learning to do.