Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Impact of Stafford Going #1 Overall

After the last few months of speculation, the 2009 NFL draft will commence this Saturday with the Detroit Lions holding the number 1 overall pick. There has been much debate about how the Lions intend to use that pick. Coming off the first 0-16 season, the Lions need help in many areas. Like the Atlanta Falcons taking Matt Ryan with the third overall pick last season to help bring a new face to the franchise, the Detroit Lions are considering drafting Matthew Stafford as the first pick. After watching Stafford play the last three seasons, I have little doubt that he has the tools to become a great pro player and I think the Lions would be making the correct choice if they select Stafford.

What I am unsure of is the impact that Stafford going number one would have on Georgia. While I think I speak for most in the Dawg Nation, we would love to see one of our own go number one, I do question what this message tells future prospects.

Matthew Stafford came to Georgia in 2006 as arguably the highest profile recruit of the Mark Richt era. After throwing a touchdown pass on his first attempt in G-Day that year, the expectations were set high. Georgia struggled through the 2006 season, but both Stafford and the team found their stride by closing with three straight wins over ranked opponents. The 2007 season made Stafford a star, as he helped lead the Dawgs to a number 2 final ranking. And the combination of Stafford and Knowshon Moreno had the entire Georgia fan base excited about a shot at a national title in '08.

As the '08 season played out, Stafford had his best statistical season but the Dawgs dropped games to Alabama and Florida and fell out of the race for the SEC Championship. Despite a great performance from Stafford, the Dawgs lost to Georgia Tech to close the season and I knew that Stafford's career at Georgia was over. He had accomplished what he needed to do to become a top pick (win games on a national stage, display his skills, and improve season to season). For his career at Georgia, Stafford had key wins over LSU, Florida, and Auburn, but he never played for an SEC championship. I can't help but feel that he left with business unfinished.

It scares me that future Bulldog prospects may begin to see the Georgia program as just another stepping stone to the NFL and not as a place to come and win a championship. Having a number one overall pick will be a selling point for Coach Richt and his staff to use to attract the top talent, but will those players come to Georgia to win a championship or just to get to the next level? In some situations, it is a no-brainer that a player will leave early for the draft. There is no better example right now than AJ Green. Barring injury, I see now way that Green is in Athens after the '10 season, but that doesn't mean I hope he leaves early because he will be another top 10 pick for the Georgia program.

I wish Stafford, Knowshon, and Asher the best at the next level but I honestly wish they had returned. I know they will represent us well as high picks in the draft, but if I had it my way, I would take another 7th round draft pick quarterback who leads us to SEC Championships over the #1 pick any day of the week.

Last time I checked, Joey Harrington got cut instead of this guy.

7 comments:

BulldawgJosh said...

I don't think you should kid yourselves that players will come here as a stepping stone to the NFL. Plenty of players have before Stafford and Moreno, and plenty of players will after. Not only is it a fact of life in football, I don't think its a bad thing.

Don't get me wrong, I want players to stay the entire time and win championships.

Unless Stafford and Moreno have Ryan Leaf type breakdowns, having them both go in the 1st round will be a positive and huge thing for our program.

dean said...

In my opinion the best players coming out of high school are really looking at two things when deciding on where to play college football.

Fist is what school do they have a chance to play immediately.

Second is which school is going to get them to the Pro's the fastest. Obviously the first one helps the second.

I'm not saying those are the only two things but I think they're the main ones.

Anonymous said...

Both the comments above, and the post in general prove one thing, that the state of athletics in college sports, and the student athletes, has deteriorated to a low and unacceptable level of behavior, decorum and respect. Students now come to universities not to get an education, but to advance themselves into huge contracts for ridiculous salaries. No longer are players concerned with the team, earning their right to play, winning traditions, or the biggest thing on camps, AN EDUCATION! Instead, its now, "When can I play, what do I get, when can I leave?" Please not the 'I' in each questions.

Players used to care about their schools, the students and alumni watching, the education they received. They used to care about championships, rivalries and "Winning just one for the Gipper!" Now it seems they do enough to make the highlight reel to impress a coach and booster to sweeten the deal to come play for their school, do a bit more to make a few more spots on ESPN, and then jump to the pros. It ain't classy anymore folks.

AppleDawg said...

There is very little.

We recruited well before Stafford and we will recruited well after Stafford. We have gotten great QB's before MS and will after.

Him going #1 is great but it won't change us.

Our problems are still with us for 2009

BFR said...

Just heard the confirmation that Stafford and the Lions have agreed to a deal for a guaranteed $41m+ over six years. As much as I'm saddened that our 24/7 offense won't be back for a(nother) legitimate run at a national title in 2009, it's very difficult to hold $41m GUARANTEED against someone...best of luck to Stafford, Knowshon, and Asher in the NFL.

BFR said...

Just heard the confirmation that Stafford and the Lions have agreed to a deal for a guaranteed $41m+ over six years. As much as I'm saddened that our 24/7 offense won't be back for a(nother) legitimate run at a national title in 2009, it's very difficult to hold $41m GUARANTEED against someone...best of luck to Stafford, Knowshon, and Asher in the NFL.

NATIVEGATOR said...

I cant wait to meet your "redone" team in Jacksonville again.Your overrated QB and RB got it handed to them by the GATORZILLAS last year.Your bulldogs aka "whipped puppies," have NO CHANCE GETTING BY EVERY RETURNING STARTER ON D ALL 11 I SAID,MUCH LESS KING TEBOW.So get ready heeeerrree come the GATORS to tail whip uga like a mutt and chomp your worthless team to shreds!bye now GO GATORS