2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Underrated. That’s the word that comes to mind with Matthew Stafford. The Lions’ quarterback might not have led his team to postseason success yet, but he has so much talent and could be a championship winner with the right team around him.
Stafford has thrown for 38,526 yards in 10 years for the Lions, as well as 237 touchdowns with 129 interceptions. In 2011, he threw for an impressive 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns, although he did have 16 interceptions.
Interceptions were an issue early in his career — he threw at least 16 picks in all but one season from 2009 to 2013, with the exception being 2010 when he only played in three games. But since 2014, he’s thrown 13 or less in every season. The next goal will be to keep his interception total below 10, which would be a career-best.
Despite all of Stafford’s talents, he’ll be judged on the Lions’ success. Stafford has played in three playoff games, throwing four touchdown passes and three interceptions in those games. The Lions lost all three.
For Stafford to reach the next level, he’ll need to carry his team to victory in the big games and help the Lions make a run in the playoffs. Maybe that’ll happen in Matt Patricia’s second season as head coach.