We all know that Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford is one of the league’s great young talents. Coming off of a 5,000 plus yard and 41 touchdown season you would think that Stafford was in fact a top talent in the league. Not according to ESPN and their NFL top 200 player rankings.
Stafford comes in at 77th in the overall rankings, while he is shockingly low at number 10 in the quarterback list. He sits behind other QBs like Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. If that does not get Lions fans fired up I do not know what will.
Stafford does not have the biggest sample size of work, but that is largely due to injuries early in his career and that he has only played in three seasons. His 2011 campaign was better than all but three NFL quarterbacks. Only Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees had claims to better seasons last year.
The argument could be made on Stafford’s behalf that he is on the cusp on being a top five NFL QB. San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers was also listed ahead of Stafford and he is coming off of bad year in 2011. The Great Peyton Manning is also listed ahead of him and that has to be because of name and pedigree more than anything because in all honesty nobody knows if Peyton is truly all the way back from his neck injury.
To make a long story short Matthew Stafford has some motivation to go out and prove himself all over again in 2012. There is no time to be complacent if he wants to be amongst the league’s elite quarterbacks.
It is obvious though that ESPN is not giving Stafford the respect he deserves, especially with the year he had last season. In comparison the NFL players themselves ranked Stafford at number 41, while Rome came in at 91 and Cutler did not even make the list. Those rankings seem to be more accurate to me as a case could be made for Romo, but what has Jay Cutler done to solidify himself as a top ten quarterback. I would put Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub and a healthy Mike Vick ahead of him without even thinking twice about it.
Stafford should be at least seventh on this list with the argument of him being even higher.