The Detroit Lions could stick to their plan and still get tomorrow’s passer
By Robert Jones
We all know the story of Tom Brady. Despite the being pushed for playing time at Michigan by the incredibly talented Drew Henson, all he did was win games when he was on the field. His reward was to be considered athletically average and be ignored until the sixth round of the draft when Bill Belichick and the Patriots called his name.
The rest, as they say, is history.
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Now while Brady’s results are far beyond the normal for a quarterback selected in any round of any year, he is actually only one of many middle to late round picks that have become outstanding professionals.
Hall of Fame quarterbacks Bart Starr, George Blanda, Roger Staubach, and Johnny Unitas were all late round picks with Unitas’ 9th round selection being the earliest.
Many fans today will say that scouting has gotten so sophisticated that those players wouldn’t drop in today’s draft, but the number of quarterbacks in any round, especially the first, that have not panned out isn’t any lower today than it was 30 or 40 or 50 years ago.
That being said, my choice for the Lions is a proven collegiate winner who has led his team to a pair of national titles and also engineered them to a third title game when the starter before him was injured.
His measurables are more than adequate as he displayed them last weekend at the combine too. Who is this player I’d be willing to take a chance on? North Dakota State’s Easton Stick.
Stick registered well athletically in every event at the combine and proved during the passing session that he could make any kind of throw. Yet he is regarded as a late round pick or possible free agent signee.
All Stick did in his two years as a starter is toss 40 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions and lead the Bison to back to back NCAA Division I Championships. He is also mobile enough to run a Darrell Bevel offense in a similar manner to Russell Wilson.
But the thing that draws me to Stick the most is that he just wins games. Well, that and possibly the best name in the draft, but I digress. Winning is the intangible that I like the most. I sometimes think that is the most overlooked attribute in a college quarterback.
If we want to judge an NFL quarterback by his wins and losses, doesn’t it make sense to find a quarterback that has enough talent to play the pro game and was a winner in college?
It is almost a certainty that the Lions will be looking for a young quarterback to groom in the draft either this year or next. Why not take a chance on a quarterback that could be their’s for the price of a fifth-round pick who did nothing but win in college and has above-average athleticism all while allowing the team to strengthen themselves with their early picks.
It’s everything Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia could ask for while never having to detour from their game plan of finding players who can contribute immediately early in the draft while costing them nothing but a fifth-round pick if it doesn’t work.
The urgency to win now is pressing for Patricia and Quinn, but it wouldn’t hurt to find a low-risk, talented, diamond in the rough who might one day be Detroit’s future.