Lions to take Matthew Stafford with first pick?

Lions’ beat writer Nicholas J. Cotsonika believes that Detroit will select Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick in April’s draft.

I don’t think they have settled on Stafford by any means. He didn’t throw at the NFL scouting combine, and he hasn’t had his pro day yet. It also might come down to contract talks. The Lions want to get something done before the draft and plan to negotiate with at least three top candidates.

But I think Stafford could fit and the Lions are set up to take him. He has a big arm to get the ball to the Lions’ best player, wide receiver Calvin Johnson. He is compared to Jay Cutler. And for whom did the Lions just try to trade? Jay Cutler. Stafford could sit behind Daunte Culpepper for a while. He doesn’t have to be thrown into the fire the way Joey Harrington was.

When I talk to writers from other cities, they are amazed that Curry or a left tackle would be a more popular choice than Stafford for the first pick. They assume the fans would go ga-ga over a quarterback. They don’t understand how Lions fans have been burned by huge draft misses at offensive skill positions.

Still, I’m amazed at how afraid some Lions fans are of taking a quarterback. You have to learn from the past, but you can’t let past failures paralyze you. The Lions can’t force it. They can’t just take a quarterback for the sake of taking a quarterback. But I don’t think they will.

This is a long-term project, and quarterback is a good place to start when you’re starting from scratch. I think if they think Stafford has what it takes to lead this franchise to a championship, they will take him and groom him as carefully as they can.

One thing everyone has to remember is that the Lions have to believe that Stafford (specifically) is their long-term fix at quarterback. It’s not about taking a quarterback because you need a quarterback or taking an offensive lineman because you need an offensive lineman. That player obviously has to fit a team’s scheme, philosophy and overall makeup. That may seem like an obvious statement, but the more and more I listen to fans and some media members, you’d think that drafting a quarterback is as easy as shopping for toilet paper.

Curry will give Stafford a run at the No. 1 pick – I guarantee you. He’s arguably the best overall player in the draft, can play multiple linebacker positions and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He would be a great new defensive toy for new head coach Jim Schwartz.

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