There is a lot of pressure on Matt Stafford. Taken with the #1 overall pick, he's expected to rebuild what has been a miserable Detroit Lions franchise. How have the previous QBs taken #1 overall in the NFL Draft performed in their rookie seasons?
2007 - JaMarcus Russell, Oakland
1 start, 373 passing yds, 2 TD, 4 INT, 55.9 QB rating
2005 - Alex Smith, San Francisco
7, starts, 875 passing yds, 1 TD, 11 INT, 40.8 QB rating
2004 - Eli Manning, New York Giants
7 starts, 1043 passing yds, 6 TD, 9 INT, 55.4 QB rating
2003 - Carson Palmer, Cincinnati
Did Not Play
2002 - David Carr, Houston
16 starts, 2592 passing yds, 9 TD, 15 INT, 62.8 QB rating
Average Of The Last Five Rookies
6 starts, 977 passing yds, 3.6 TDs, 7.8 INT, 42.9 QB rating
Not exactly an overwhelming group, is it? They've been a mixed bag in their careers -- Palmer and Manning are stars, Carr and Smith are backups, Russell is a starter for the moment -- but their rookie seasons have been pretty terrible. You certainly wouldn't want any of them on your fantasy team.
But the key number to look at is the number of starts. Outside of David Carr, the last five QBs taken #1 overall were not their team's startter for their rookie season. Palmer didn't play at all and even Eli Manning started less than half the season. I'm hoping that the Lions will be ready to give Matt Stafford sixteen starts this season, even if it leads to another 0-16 season. For fantasy owners, getting Stafford on the field is the most important thing the Lions have to do this season.