Dog draft: Who was big winner?

Like most Bulldog fans, I’m happy Matthew Stafford got a big payday in the NFL draft and looks set for life financially. Hopefully he’ll generously remember his alma mater in the coming years! But in football terms, his deal with Detroit doesn’t have a lot of upside, as draft mavens like to say. 

Aside from the guaranteed money Stafford will put in the bank, there appears to be almost no way either party to the deal will get what they really want and need, based on what folks who follow the Lions say. Barring a complete transformation, chances are the Lions will still be a sucky franchise, and Stafford’s NFL career will get off to a shaky start. It’s unlikely Detroit will get its money’s worth out of Stafford, and unless he can get traded to a decent team, his career isn’t likely to be as successful on the field as it was at the negotiating table.

On the other hand, Knowshon Moreno has good reason to smile after going earlier than expected in the first round to a team that has had a lot of success in the past with Georgia Bulldog running backs. In this case, being No. 1 isn’t everything.

And it was good to see Mohamed Massaquoi go in the second round to the Browns. He deserves it, though you wouldn’t know it from the way I heard him characterized by one of the ESPN “analysts,” who summed him up as prone to dropping the ball. Yeah, MoMass had some trouble with that … in his sophomore year! The past couple of seasons he caught pretty much everything thrown to him and was the Dogs’ clutch guy when they really had to maintain possession. He has a great attitude, too. The Browns got a winner.

As for what this all means for Mark Richt’s program, having the No. 1 pick, two first-round picks, three on the first day, six overall and probably four more Dogs to sign as undrafted free agents … conventional wisdom is that it will be a boost in recruiting. I’m sure that’s true, to a degree. But Georgia’s put a lot of kids in the pros in recent years (46 in the past eight drafts), so that’s not a new factor. And the Dogs’ solid record of turning out future pro tight ends and defensive ends in recent years didn’t prevent a drop-off in NFL-worthy talent at those positions for us over the past couple of years. 

Having a bunch of players make it to the next level cuts both ways, too. I’m sure recruiters from other schools will point out that Georgia had all that NFL-caliber talent and still wasn’t able to win the SEC East.

Whether that trumps the fact that Athens seems to be a direct portal to playing on Sunday with a recruit will depend on how much the kid in question values a college championship ring and how much their eyes are locked on the bigger prize.

As fine a career as Stafford had at Georgia, there’s no denying it will pale for Dog fans in comparison to the next quarterback to bring home another SEC trophy. But with his $41 million in the bank, Stafford probably won’t care.

58 comments Add your comment

trey

April 27th, 2009
9:56 am

Enter your comments here

trey

April 27th, 2009
9:58 am

All I can say is what happened to this team in “08. 5 of the top 90 players in all of college football and it’s not like the others were chopped liver!

Cuz

April 27th, 2009
10:02 am

Knowshon should make the biggest impact first.

The chopped liver were the lines that had to be pieced together game after game. With I believe 18 injured starters or projected starters, I think we held our own. Just my opinion, feel free to not agree with it.

JB

April 27th, 2009
10:15 am

I want to teach our players what the guy at Vandy teachs his players. It’s a team…Making it to the NFL
should not be Richt’s concern…it needs to be a by product of success. Vandy takes average players and make them tough as nails to beat. I don’t want players ” Auditioning” for the NFL as their main goal at Georgia. I want him helping the team win games. I really second guessed our game plans with Stafford at times. More 3 and outs than I care to remember and putting a tired defense back on the field. Yes, I know that arm WON us a lot of games.

GeoffDawg

April 27th, 2009
10:22 am

Detroit certainly seems to have some offensive pieces in place with Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and from what I understand their first round OL pick last year so while yes, he probably will have a rocky start, I wouldn’t completely discount his time with the Lions just yet. This is a completely different franchise than it has been the last ten years with a new coach and GM so maybe their run of shooting themselves in the foot is now over. The new regime is unproven but seriously, it could only improve from where they’ve been.

GeoffDawg

April 27th, 2009
10:23 am

BTW – I do think Knowshon will have the earliest positive impact. Denver’s running scheme almost seems tailor made for his skills which is probably why they took him when RB wasn’t their biggest need.

Huh?

April 27th, 2009
10:28 am

The ESPN pro analysts were just as big of USC and Big 10 homers as their college counterparts. They all about soiled themselves when the Jets picked Sanchez. It was sickening. Meanwhile, Steve Young and Trent Dilfer’s beating around the bush about Stafford grew very tiring. Just say it already!!! You don’t think Stafford has the guts to succeed at Detroit. We get it. Then later one of them, can’t remember who exactly, claimed that Michigan State’s Brian freaking Hoyer had all the tools to be a good NFL QB. I about fell out of my chair in delirious laughter. That dude is awful. I mean really, am I out to lunch here or did anyone else pick up on the same USC and Big 10 homerism?

JB

April 27th, 2009
10:31 am

Until our Dawgs do a sweep and win it all, the national press will doubt all we do. We’ve got to do it on the field.

GW

April 27th, 2009
10:38 am

Experts seemed to think that if a LB did not play for USC, they were not worth drafting. Somebody said it right. the Michigan State QB was awful I thought. NFL talent or not, Georgia coaches have to toughen up the team and improve the defense. I think most recruits are thinking NFL rather than SEC Championship. That’s true for all 12 SEC schools.

GeoffDawg

April 27th, 2009
10:44 am

Totally agree about Sanchez – if there was such rampant consensus about the top QB in the draft as was implied by ESPN, then why did the NFL talent evaluators whose actual profession is to pick winning players almost have univeral consensus as Stafford being the top QB available? If you didn’t know any better, with all the publicity, you’d have thought Sanchez was the top pick and the second coming of Joe Montana. Quite frankly, with all that the Jets gave up to move to #5, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sanchez struggles more than Stafford early on.

ESPN for all they’ve done to transform the sports reporting world are also incredibly transparent in their agenda. The play to the bigger markets again and again – California and NY are bigger media markets than Georgia and Michigan and that’s the long and short of it. That’s why Chris Berman’s lips were planted squarely on Mark Sanchez’s rear end for the better part of the weekend.

Will

April 27th, 2009
10:45 am

I was surprised how much the dawg killer Percy Harvin dropped. No seriously, he probably didn’t inhale.

athensdawg

April 27th, 2009
10:59 am

whoever said “auditioning for the NFL” is correct.
I don’t want players trying out for the NFL, either.
If that is our MO here at uga, why don’t we bring back jim donnan….

We can beat our chests all we want about having better draft picks this year.

Bama and Florida can tell us how much that matters when we line up to play ball.

Huh?

April 27th, 2009
11:02 am

“Until our Dawgs do a sweep and win it all, the national press will doubt all we do. We’ve got to do it on the field.”

I don’t know. Sanchez only started 16 games, in a weak Pac 10 no less, and never won a national title and none of the ESPN “analysts” seemed to care too much. I’m sure he’s very talented or he wouldn’t have been a top 5 pick, but holy bejeebus was ESPN up this guy’s rear end. It was unbelievable.

Cuz

April 27th, 2009
11:10 am

Percy apparently is not using his noggin. All he has to do is stay clean for five or six years and make the big bucks. Then he can hang out with Ricky Williams in Jamaica for as long as he wants. Even though I am a dawg, I hope he does not screw up this incredible chance.

GeoffDawg

April 27th, 2009
11:12 am

Percy Harvin earned that Wonderlic score. To test positive at the combine when you know upfront that you’ll be tested is about as stupid as it gets. He could’ve cost himself millions in guaranteed money because he couldn’t wait to light up.

Huh?

April 27th, 2009
11:22 am

Percy Harvin has BUST written all over him. That guy pulls a hammy walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. There is no way in hell he can withstand an NFL season. No way.

Pago Flyer

April 27th, 2009
11:27 am

Who really cares about the draft, let’s just win the SEC and beat fl and gt!

murfdawg

April 27th, 2009
11:29 am

I wonder how Percy is going to like MN winters. It is going to take a lot of skunkweed to stay warm up there.

MountainDawg

April 27th, 2009
11:44 am

It’s a total sham that Brannan Southerland wasn’t drafted! The guy led the team in TDs/scoring 2 seasons ago, squats 750 lb+ & runs a 4.6 40 y/d. I hope he signs a FA contract asap & gets a chance to make a team. Another example of the “caste system” shafting a good athlete!

http://www.castefootball.us

Voice of Reason

April 27th, 2009
12:08 pm

there was only one FB drafted and he was rated ahead of Southerland. He just plays a very low demand position these days.

Alabamadawg

April 27th, 2009
12:27 pm

I read that the Falcons are gonna sign John Parker Wilson today…I hope their not thinking of getting rid of D.J. !!!

PeligroPero

April 27th, 2009
12:28 pm

I normally don’t give a fig about Pro Football but I do find myself swelling up like toady frog with pride when my beloved Bulldogs are picked by Pro teams. Then I remember, these pro are dead wrong at least a third of the time.

I-DOG

April 27th, 2009
12:37 pm

Being the #1 overall pick usually means being shipped to a struggling franchise. albeit with a lot of money.

Certainly, the Lions don’t look to be competitive this year, but there are some bright spots for them. Stafford won’t be thrown into the starters role on day 1 unless he is ready since they have Culpepper and the team was 0-16 last season. They can’t get any worse!

If Dante leads them to 2 wins in the first 8 and Stafford to 3 wins in the last 8… then that 5-11 season is a huge improvement and they can draft and improve through free agency for the next season to perhaps be a competitive team.

Expectations are very low.

Absolem Malakesh

April 27th, 2009
12:51 pm

Torki was! Der is no daubt!!!!!!!

Denver Dog

April 27th, 2009
12:54 pm

Beanie Wells, Brown from Conn, How did Knowshon do that? Last minute deal to get Sanchez, how did Stafford do that?

I’m sick of ESPN, big 10, and all the stuff that comes from ESPN on that. New York Jets, come on, we are all sick of ESPN doing that report.

All I can say is that there are a bunch of college kids doing well and going to the pro ranks. I could care less what the jerks jumping around in the Radio City Music Hall are doing and cheering about.

As far as our guys, good luck to them and all they take to the next level. Too bad Lame Kitten couldn’t get some of them when he was coaching at Oakland. Oh yeah he could, he just went after Russell.

Go dogs! ESPN take a big hike!

Here in Denver, we’ve got 2 of UGA’s best players of the last 10 years.

I-DOG

April 27th, 2009
12:57 pm

I don’t understand why Southerland wasn’t drafted in a late round. I’m guessing that the NFL scouts don’t think his game will translate to the pros very well, but it just seems like a GM would take a chance on a guy that can block like that in the 6th or 7th round.

As others have pointed out above, he can do other things well too like run and catch when asked to.

slimpickens

April 27th, 2009
12:58 pm

Bill, what year did you graduate from Tech?

hop

April 27th, 2009
1:00 pm

There is clearly a preference toward the big markets,but sanchez may be a better leader and certainly more mobile than stafford, and since he is with a far better team, thus- might be a better opportunity for him.

GeoffDawg

April 27th, 2009
1:07 pm

I just asked Mel Kiper on an ESPN blog his thoughts on the drafting of Moreno by Denver and he believes that he’ll have the opportunity to be in the mix for rookie of the year honors.

http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=26213

Cuz

April 27th, 2009
1:10 pm

Denver Dog, are the fans happy with Knowshon, the Post writer sure isn’t.

kauai dawg

April 27th, 2009
1:15 pm

I agree it is “a team” and should always be. However did you notice how many draft picks came from Florida State? Coaching and talent are both needed to be a winner. Richt has done a great job of balancing, team and talent and keeping his eye and heart on the big picture and that is the maturity of the young man for life! His purpose is to help these young men fulfill thier puspose in life. Some that will be football and for others it will be in their community as leaders. Mr. King I enjoy your articles, keep up the great work! Go DAWGS!

Huh?

April 27th, 2009
1:19 pm

hop, why is Sanchez a better leader than Stafford?

I’m not going to hold my breath on this one.

GeoffDawg

April 27th, 2009
1:22 pm

hop – according to the combine reports, Stafford had a better 40 time and an equal 3 cone drill time to Sanchez so Stafford’s mobility isn’t something that’s really in question IMO. Also, I agree that Stafford does probably need to learn to be a bit more vocal in his team leadership but it appears that these intangible qualities that everyone’s assuming Sanchez possesses are mostly an ESPN marketing ploy. Didn’t Pete Carroll walk out of the press conference when Sanchez announced his decision to go pro? I think that speaks volumes more about somebody’s character than all the feel good, fluff stories in the world.

Also, right off the bat, the Jets are the better overall team but Stafford has the luxury of throwing to what is probably the most talented WR in the NFL in Calvin Johnson.

Cuz

April 27th, 2009
1:37 pm

Another sign of the coming Apocalypse, A top Dawg throwing to a top Jacket. I gotta go check if the Savannah is boiling.

Bill King

April 27th, 2009
1:42 pm

Hey Slim,
Them’s fightin’ words.

RxDawg

April 27th, 2009
2:10 pm

Big Dawg

April 27th, 2009
3:15 pm

IMHO of the Georgia players drafted Knowshon or Massaquoi will have the biggest immediate impact. I would have put Southerland in there but he wasn’t drafted, I guess his foot hasn’t completely healed as Brannan is usually the type of Fullback that would have been drafted as he is an outstanding blocker and receiver out of the backfield, can get you the tough yard or two in short yardage situations and is a good leader on and off the field. As for Stafford I don’t expect that he will get much playing time, but Sanchez will be expected to come in and produce right away with the Jets and if he doesn’t the New York fans are not very forgiving or patient.

bill

April 27th, 2009
3:17 pm

Of all the Bulldogs drafted, I am most happy with Massaquoi. He is a stand up player and from what I understand a solid student at UGA, all traits needed for a successful career in the NFL and in life. Great job Mohammed!!

dan

April 27th, 2009
3:23 pm

I hate to say it, but I think Matt Stafford is going to be a bust. The kid has all the talent in the world, but he just doesn’t have it mentally. I think being drafted first is the worst thing for him professionally( all though admitly not financialy). I though Stafford would have been a much better fit in Denver or Chicago. I think part of Stafford’s problem is that he’s been told how great he is his entire life, and no that he has all that money, I don’t see that as being a good thing for his motivation. Knowshon will be okay in Denver, but I’m not sold on Josh McDaniels so far as a coach. I actually think Massaquoi will do well with the Browns, he may have the best career out of the three( like Reggie Brown for the Eagles). And on an unrelated note: I LOVED want the Falcons did in the draft. With all of those defensive picks, and least two of them will pan out, especially in the later rounds where the real gems are.

Here are my top NFL Draft Busts:Matt Stafford, Michael Craptree,Josh Freeman,Beanie Wells

Here are my top NFL Draft Can’t Misses: Robert Ayers, Michael Oher, Hakeem Nicks,Darius Butler, Donald Brown

GeoffDawg

April 27th, 2009
3:28 pm

Michael “Crap”tree dan? Was that intentional or Freudian?

Also, have to disagree with you about Stafford. Let’s not forget that he had one of the highest Wonderlic scores at the combine so mental acuity shouldn’t be an issue. I agree that he’s not fully matured yet but let’s also acknowledge that he showed maturation every year in college and mostly played with poise in front of bigger crowds than he’ll see in the NFL. I’d give him a lot more time to develop before labeling him a bust.

Huh?

April 27th, 2009
3:33 pm

I’m sure Stafford is the only player drafted this past weekend that has been told how great he is for an extended period of time.

Good grief.

dan

April 27th, 2009
3:45 pm

haha…whoops. I meant Crabtree.

GeoffDawg, I’m just not sold on Stafford. I can’t speak to all the data from the combine I can only assess what I see on the field. It would be harsh to say that Stafford didn’t care about UGA. I think he enjoyed his time in Athens. But I will say that he had very business mentality( some would say mercenary) during his time in Athens. Asher Allen is another person with a mercenary mentality. I knew a lot of his Tucker teamates and they didn’t care much for him after he got hurt, intentionally stayed out the rest of the season and basically had nothing to do with them his senior year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a smart way to be. You don’t want to risk a chance to lose a scholarship to UGA, but at the same time I can understand his teamates for losing respect for him not laying it out for the team. And that’s kind of my issue with Stafford. He’s not going to lay it on the line unless it benefits him. I think you can win with mercenarys in the NFL. Deion Sanders was the ultimate mercenary and was a part of Championship teams. But you don’t build your entire franshise around a someone with a mercenary mentality. That to me is a recipe for disaster. I could be wrong but I kind of don’t think I will be.

BobDog

April 27th, 2009
3:52 pm

Hop, it seems like I remember Stafford had a surprisingly good 40 in the combine.

Cuz, I scanned a blog on the Denver Post. Most seem very unhappy with the coach and management in general. One said they were all a bunch of idiots, that they had just gotten the next Emmett Smith. I agree that Knowshon is going to have a very good career. I hope Stafford’s is close to it.

opiedawg

April 27th, 2009
3:54 pm

Dan,

Stafford scored a 38 on the Wonderlic and was on the SEC all-academic team. That said, I myself wonder what kind of long-term success Matthew will have in Detroit, but that has more to do with my skepticism towards the Lions’ organization’s ability to build and maintain a team around Matthew. In other words, if Matthew becomes a bust, it will have more to do with team he plays for than anything he fails to do personally.

Heck, Archie Manning had a pretty good career playing on some putrid teams, so there is hope for Matthew.

VolsRule

April 27th, 2009
4:18 pm

Congrats to all UGA fans for a great draft day.

As much as we root against one another – I have to pay respect to your program and coach for the players with excellent character that UGA is producing. The Massoqui kid is a great example.

As a SEC fan – I hate reading about kids that are in trouble. And I read quite a bit about UGA last year. However, most of the “issues” and rules broken were underage drinking. This is a far cry from weapons violations, assault, and drugs that plague a lot of programs.

Also – I picked up quite a bit of negativity towards Stafford. The fact that he was thrown in as a true freshman – then played sophomore and junior years with patchworked O-lines was only mentioned – but not emphasized by the PAC10 / BIG10 media dicks.
Guess I’m still sore that Peyton was ripped off in the Heisman vote – perpetuated by ABC and ESPN to promote a B10 DB player that Champ Bailey was 10 times better.

Huh?

April 27th, 2009
4:27 pm

Okay dan, lets talk about what you saw on the field. Please name a single play where Stafford did not “lay it on the line” because it did not benefit him. Just one play and then we’ll go from there. Thanks.

Cuz

April 27th, 2009
4:32 pm

Look Stafford scored high on the Wonderlic, ran a good forty time at the combine, knocked three out of four plates out of the air on the Jimmy Fallon show, signed for a cool 41 million and is hanging out with a hot Russian tennis chick. Sounds pretty good so far.

Cuz

April 27th, 2009
4:35 pm

Now that Southerland will have an opportunity with the Jets, we can ask him in a couple of years who is the best QB, Sancho or Stafford?

uga_b

April 27th, 2009
4:46 pm

By this logic, South Carloina’s next recruting class will be killer. Dang you Superior!

Bill King

April 27th, 2009
4:59 pm

This had pretty much been known all day, as I alluded to in the original blog, but the UGA athletics office has made it official. Four Bulldogs did indeed sign as undrafted free agents. Fullback Brannan Southerland signed a contract with the New York Jets, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe signed with the Baltimore Ravens, wide receiver Demiko Goodman signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Kenneth Harris signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints. So 10 members of the 2008 Dawgs will get a shot at the NFL.