Matthew Stafford wasn’t a real popular pick with Lions fans when the Lions took him first overall in 2009. A group of fans publicly changed for the team to take Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry at a local sporting goods store when the Lions unveiled their updated logo just weeks before the draft.
NFL.com’s Jason Smith (no, not the Jason Smith that went second overall to the Rams) did a 2009 redraft and says that even if the Lions had a do-over, they shouldn’t do anything different:
Had we done this exercise last offseason, it would be Arian Foster in this slot. What a difference a year makes. Stafford turned into a full-blown star and more importantly, proved he could stay healthy for an entire season plus a playoff game. In ’09, the Lions needed everything so Foster could have worked. However while you can argue who’s the better overall player between Stafford and Foster, the NFL is a quarterback-driven league and that’s not changing. If you have a choice between two studs at those positions, always take the QB. You can find the RB somewhere else.
A full season of good health showed why the Lions organization was so steadfast in their belief in Stafford as their franchise quarterback. A host of franchise records while leading the Lions to the playoffs was more than most expected out of him but he burst on the scene to earn a spot in the discussion of the league’s elite quarterbacks.
The re-draft only goes through the first ten picks and the only other pick to match the actual pick is the Green Bay Packers’ selection of B.J. Raji. It would have been interesting to see if the selection of Brandon Pettigrew at number 20 overall would have held true as well. It was regarded as a luxury pick rather than a need at the time but Pettigrew has developed into one of the better receiving tight ends in the league.