Lions fortunate to have Stafford; no clear-cut top QB in this draft
Cam Newton, the Auburn quarterback, is the name most mentioned but he has plenty of question marks including limited experience.
Rich Gannon, the former NFL quarterback who will be an analyst on the Sirius Radio coverage of the draft, said on a conference call Monday that it’s not just the concern about Newton’s ability to move up to the NFL that creates so many questions about the risk/reward of selecting him.
It’s also how prepared a team is to start and stay with a rookie quarterback. He mentioned that if the lockout continues, Newton or any rookie quarterback, will go into the season without the usual offseason work. It will clearly put them way behind the veteran quarterbacks on other teams (such as the Lions) who know their systems and can fare better without offseason work.
“The young quarterback needs as many snaps in the offseason program, training camp as he can get. He needs as much private one-on-one time with his quarterback coach and coordinator as possible. So the longer this lockout looms, the harder it will be for these young guys to come in and make an immediate contribution,’’ said Jon Gruden, former Tampa Bay coach, in a conference call last week.
“This is a very difficult year for a young quarterback to come in and make an immediate contribution if this lockout persists,’’ Gruden said.
It’s an interesting situation for the draft with so many teams needing to draft quarterbacks and so many quarterbacks who have red flags. There is not one clear-cut No. 1.
The Lions have to feel fortunate that they have Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton who have game experience and know the system. Martin Mayhew has said they will not draft a quarterback in the first round with their 13th overall pick.
The NFL draft is Thursday (round 1, 8 p.m.), Friday (rounds 2-3, 6 p.m.) and Saturday (rounds 4-7, noon). Sirius will have radio coverage, while the NFL Network and ESPN will have the draft completely covered on television.
(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)