The League

Shawn Zobel
Draft Guru

Shawn Zobel

The founder and editor of Draft

Don't Rush Stafford


When you take a look at the three players and their respective bodies of work from college, you could argue that none of the three should be starting at this point.

In Matthew Stafford's case, he has good experience however his supporting cast is not going to help him very much. The reason that Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco had success last year was because of their excellent supporting cast. Atlanta featured one of the top running games in the league and Baltimore had one of the NFL's top defenses. Detroit has no such running game and their defense still projects to be among the worst in the league. Starting Stafford right now before he is fully developed could be a mistake, no matter how much money they are paying him. However, as Peyton Manning showed, special players are able to overcome their early failures to have a successful career.

Mark Sanchez, while a legitimate prospect to develop into one of the league's top quarterbacks, has limited experience. He started a minimal number of games in college and had one of the best supporting casts that a quarterback could ask for. While the Jets running game figures to again be a strong, their aerial attack should decline with the loss of Laveranues Coles. However, Rex Ryan and New York's new defense make it easier for me to see Sanchez getting the chance to start right off the bat.

There is no doubt in my mind that Josh Freeman should not be starting right now. He was an extremely raw prospect coming out of Kansas State and he needs coaching in almost every part of his game. I could see Freeman being thrown into the mix in November or December if Tampa Bay struggles, which I think they could. With Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown battling it out for the starting job, it'd make the most sense to allow Freeman to sit back, learn, and develop rather than rush his raw talent.

Out of the three prospects, I could see Sanchez starting the soonest thanks to the supporting cast that the Jets have already built around him. While it will be tempting for Detroit to start Stafford, they did the same thing with an underclassmen quarterback in Joey Harrington and threw him into the fire too early. We know how that ended up. It's going to take quite awhile to rebuild in Detroit, there is no point in rushing the most important part of the equation.

By Shawn Zobel  |  July 1, 2009; 5:08 PM ET  | Category:  Detriot Lions , Draft Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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