Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Mar 2009

ESPN INSIDER: Biggest Draft Falls

Our Monday article for Insider looks at the biggest draft fall of each of the last ten drafts, and what it cost each player in his rookie contract.

We project that a fall by Matthew Stafford from first to tenth would cost him 65 percent of his rookie contract.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 30 Mar 2009

11 comments, Last at 03 Apr 2009, 3:51pm by Telamon


by Megamanic (not verified) :: Mon, 03/30/2009 - 10:41pm

Not wishing to criticise an article I haven't read but isn't the definition of a draft fall simply being drafted lower than the spot that various draftniks were halucinating you should have been drafted at?

Hands up if you think Stafford's worth the #1 overall...


Thought so. My personal belief is that he'll end up a darn sight closer to his Lewin projection than the second coming of John Elway. I'm absolutely amazed to see him mutate before my eyes on draft sites from the best of a bad bunch of QBs to a seeming "can't miss" franchise QB you'd be mad to pass over.

by Harris :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 8:56am

Somebody has to be the top QB in each draft and so, by the nature of the position, the assumption is that the top QB is a good prospect. Stafford first overall? Sanchez a top 10 pick? Freeman a first-rounder? None of them have done anything to deserve that kind of status, but everybody loves QBs, and these are the top guys, so . . .

Hail Hydra!

by Led (not verified) :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 10:44am

Isn't next year's draft class supposed to be stronger at QB? If so, it seems stupid for a rebuilding team to take a guy just because he's the best QB available when the team is likely to have a shot at better prospects next year. It's not like a QB-needy team is likely to be picking at the bottom of the first round in 2010. And yes, Mike Tannenbaum, I'm talking to you.

by lionsbob :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 6:36pm

I think Stafford is worth #1 overall. His Lewin projection gets creamed because of a terrible freshman year (as an 18 year old in the SEC). His last 2 seasons his completion percentage would have been around 59%...not super great, but not terrible either (around Matt Ryan numbers).

And I will say it now, if Stafford stayed for his senior year, he would have been the top QB in the 2010 draft (considering the only competition is probably Sam Bradford, that is not too hard) and his Lewin projection would have gone up (40+ starts, completion percentage around 59%)-which would have him around someone like Carson Palmer and Jay Cutler.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 7:20pm

It's very dicey to make statements like "if so-and-so returned for his senior year (or played more) his Lewin projection would be better." People said the same thing about Jamarcus Russell and John David Booty (after his first year as a starter), among others. So far, Russell hasn't impressed and Booty proved that he's not a candidate for Lewin's system by sliding out of the top 2 rounds. (For the record, Russell's projection wasn't "bust," it was "not worth a high pick.") So Lewin got the last laugh on both those guys.

What's more reasonable is to say that if he returned for another year in college, he MIGHT look better to Lewin OR he might get exposed as a fraud and slip right out of the top 2 rounds.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

by Harris :: Wed, 04/01/2009 - 9:21am

Sure, but Ryan played no running game at all (and Brady Quinn didn't have much of one), while Stafford could depend on possibly the second best RB in the draft.

Hail Hydra!

by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:59am

First, even if he replicated the year he had this year, Stafford's career completion percentage would be 58.3%, which still is still worse than Ryan (who ended up at 59.9, with far less surrounding talent than what Stafford had at Georgia). More fundamentally, the problem is that we really don't know how Stafford would perform if he played another year. It's entirely possible that he'd regress toward his career average. The problem with both Sanchez and Stafford is that they have both only had one good year. The difference with Stafford is that he's also had two additional bad years.

As for Bradford, I'm not sure what's not to like about his game other than the fact that he plays in a shotgun-heavy offense. He's got a strong arm and fantastic accuracy/touch, which is something Stafford can't say. The "well he played in a pro-style offense" argument only gets you so far. For that matter, I think that if given a legit chance in the NFL, Colt McCoy will be a better pro than Stafford. Yes his numbers are aided by his offensive system, but even in that context, they are extremely impressive (you can't just throw any putz into a spread and have him complete 77% of his passes, as evidenced by the fact that nobody else has even come anywhere close to that number). Plus he has good mobility and decent arm strength.

by Theo :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 9:28am

If my aunt had a **** she would've been my uncle.

by lionsbob :: Tue, 03/31/2009 - 7:54pm

That is true, in fact looking at some other players with 40 plus starts and around a 58% completion percentage-Brady Quinn is another name that pops up...

I just think Stafford gets dismissed a little too easily at times.

by MCS :: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 12:15pm

Didn't you guys announce that the ESPN Insider articles would become public domain on the FO site after a couple of days as pay access only on ESPN?

by Telamon :: Fri, 04/03/2009 - 3:51pm

That was just the four downs "previews" that they are/were running on insider.