In a draft class consisting of the first overall pick, Matthew Stafford, and the media savvy Mark Sanchez, one man is left in the dark, Tampa’s Josh Freeman. If you go back to the stats from this past season, you will see that Freeman isn’t far off from Matthew Stafford. The Lions’ gunslinger threw two more interceptions then Freeman did, and also had less yards per pass then the Bucs’ general did. But which of these guys received more media attention…got that right, Stafford did. Why? Most likely because he was the first overall pick, even though he didn’t have a tremendous season AND he has one of the best wide receivers in the league in Calvin Johnson, something that Josh Freeman still doesn’t have. Now Sanchez had the better numbers out of all the rookie quarterbacks, but he also played in five more games then the other two. But he only had two more touchdowns then Freeman, and had more interceptions. So I guess playing in New York gives you an automatic boost in media attention, but he did lead his team into the playoffs, something that none of the other guys even came close to. So how will these three stack up in 2011?
At first glance, you’d expect Mark Sanchez to see an increase in his numbers considering that the Jets have recently added Santonio Holmes (who’s facing a suspension to start the season) to their receiving core that already contained Braylon Edwards, Jerrico Cotchery and Dustin Keller. With those guys, and the help of their newly acquired running back, Ladanian Tomlinson, the former USC star should have the better season out of the three sophomore QB’s.
But Stafford, on the other hand, plays for the dismal Lions, who are getting slightly better, but nowhere near competing for a playoff spot. With Calvin Johnson on the outside and Brandon Pettigrew roaming down the middle, Stafford has some reliable options to throw to, which should translate to decent numbers. However, Stafford is a little shaky under pressure and will throw the ball into traffic.
Freeman has a chance to surpass Stafford statistically, but will he? With two rookie wide receivers appearing to be the opening day starters, Freeman will have very little experience on the outside, but a whole lot of talent. Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, both rookies who found a ton of success in the college game, have a chance to be a dynamic duo for years to come on the outside. Add them in with Kellen Winslow and Freeman has a couple good targets to go to. With three reliable options, Freeman should eclipse the 2,000 yard mark and be around 15 touchdowns.