Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The solution is uncertain

Mike Maycock apparently thinks that the Lions shouldn't pick Matt Stafford with the number one overall pick, despite their obvious need for a quarterback and the fact that he has looked totally competent for the position. While I'm never one to value practical building blocks over the chance to use skill positions to drastically change the image of a team, I'm in agreement on this one. The last several years have certainly instilled a justifiable fear of the purely special. Drafting and making free agency moves on the basis of freakish gifts as opposed to safe, practical needs has failed team after team and turned the Raiders into the spectacle of the league. For the Lions to dig their way out, one might initially suppose that charting a course of stability and consistency under center would be the first step toward rebuilding.

Still, when we consider the top pick of the draft, and the nature of teams that find themselves possessing it, shouldn't we insist that SOME degree of uniqueness? With a slew of athletic and football freakish figures on the board (including Aaron Curry, who Maycock loves, and who will certainly be in our "What Dreams May Come" coverage), can a team justify deliberately avoiding the possibility of transcendence and the risk it entails any more than it can justify wandering too deep into uncertainty for the sake of that transcendence?

Stafford could be good. Certainly, he has the physical gifts too succeed. Furthermore, his performance both in college and at the combine suggested that he's unlikely to be the sort of monumental failure that teams dread under center, which in this season of uncertainty at quarterback across the league is an invaluable commodity as a draft pick. But for a team that owes as much to its fans (and to fans of quality football) as the Lions do, it feels just as wrong to suggest that unambitious safety is preferable to unreasonable risk.

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