Height: 6027 E
Weight: 236 E
40 Time: 4.75 E
Matthew is a surprisingly athletic quarterback considering he still has some baby fat. He could improve his quickness if he lost a few pounds, as he still appears slow when running bootleg plays, but is surprisingly quick when he tucks it in and runs. Will never be confused with Michael Vick, but can catch a defense napping and pick up the first down. He shows good knee bend and maintains proper balance throughout his throwing motion. He does not change directions easily while running the ball, limiting him somewhat in the open field.
Physical Talents: 7.0
Stafford is an immensely talented quarterback. He is a shade under 6'3 but is a stocky guy with the build to withstand punishment. That he can improve his build should aid his future performance, as he could only benefit from more time in the weight room. As a runner he shows no explosion, but the ball jumps out of his hand when he throws the ball and hits the reciever extremely quickly.
Body Type: 6.5
Stafford is a very polished quarterback when it comes to his passing technique - as a quarterback coach, you don't have to worry about his mechanics at all. He has a quick delivery and strides into his throws to get maximum explosion. He might need a little more work on touch passes but shows potential there. He has a strong understanding of the playbook and is trusted to audible out of a play if he sees something in the defense. He directs an offense that uses a fair bit of motion and the team generally makes few mistakes prior to the snap. He has solid instincts for feeling pressure, but he does not get down as a runner and has some trouble sensing cornerback blitzes.
Understands Playbook: 6.5
Proper Technique: 7.0
Stafford is going to be one of those players who will drive fans of the other 31 teams crazy with how often he is praised for his heart. He took a huge beating against Florida, hurt his elbow, but continued to play hard until the game was out of reach. He tends to have his worst performances against the best teams, which is concerning, but against Florida he suffered an injury which seemed to hurt his arm strength (funnybone injury) and against Alabama he had early jitters but settled down in the second half. He consistently makes big throw after big throw and seems to thrive under pressure most of the time, but does turn a little too gunslinger when trailing by a lot. However, I believe that these traits are pluses as they show guts and fire, essential for a field general and the bad habits can be worked out.
Clutch Play: 7.0
Football Character: 6.5
I'm always a little hesitant of pudgy players, but Stafford has lost weight
since last season and seems willing to work hard.
Personal Character: 6.5 No blemishes that I am aware of. Quiet off-field life.
Durability: 7.0 He has a good frame to withstand big injuries, and the toughness to play through mild ones.
Release: 7.0 Quick
release that gets the ball away fairly high. Very few passes batted down at
Dropback: 6.5 Stafford has a standard dropback that does not need major refining. He takes his share of shotgun snaps but does pass in under-center formations as well.
Arm Strength: 7.5 He throws with a ton of zip and his deep passes are ropes.
3rd Down Conversions: 7.5 He converted on 12 of 17 conversion attempts, which is great, and was rarely asked to convert the easier 3rd and 2... Mostly third and long.
Short Accuracy in Pocket 7.0 He can sometimes throw a little behind his target over the middle, but not to the point where the ball is uncatchable. Most passes are exact and get to their target quickly.
Long Accuracy in Pocket: 7.0 He is streaky, but a deep accuracy of almost 50% is nothing to sneeze at. Throws deep corner route with touch.
Accuracy while moving: 6.5 He is a little less accurate on the move but generally retains good accuracy.
Big Plays: 7.0 Stafford is not a spread quarterback who rarely throws downfield. Lots of downfield passes and when he is on, it is almost unstoppable.
Poise in Pocket: 6.0 Stafford can be jittery at times, but generally does a good job stepping up or scrambling out when pressured. Takes hits to make the throw.
Escapes from Pocket: 6.0 Stafford sometimes leaves a little too soon, and can't outrun a quick defender, but he can escape and buy himself a bit of time.
Leadership: 6.5 Not a rah-rah type, but leads by example with his grit.
Reading Defenses: 6.0 His biggest flaw is that he is terrible throwing deep. Over 70% of his deep passes are thrown into double coverage. In short range, he makes good decisions. Makes his reads but sometimes misses open man and could improve.
Big Errors: 6.0 Sometimes gets gunslinger syndrome and tries to do too much when down by a lot, but otherwise takes great care of the football. Would like to see smarter play in bad situations, however.
Summary: Stafford is a quarterback who grows on you because of his toughness and clutch play. The dynamite arm strength is readily apparent, and even if he does not improve at all he will have one of the stronger arms in the NFL. He has a ton of potential, and whoever drafts him will be taking a gamble that he achieves his potential. My projection is based on the assumption that he heads to a situation where he is groomed responsibly and fulfills his potential, as his flaws - deep reads, gunslinger mentality, and jitters - stand a good chance of being worked out by a quality quarterback teacher. It may take him a year or two to confirm my assessment, but I expect that Stafford will join the ranks of the "not quite Brady or Manning" quarterbacks by the end of his third season.
Final Grade: 6.9 I
Note: Due to the still-ongoing nature of the college football season, it is very possible, even likely, that I will evaluate Georgia in games that haven't occured yet. for this reason, I retain the right to change any of these reports up until the day of the draft.