It would be very difficult to find a former teammate who would say a negative word about Matthew Stafford, and Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockensen put that into perspective when asked about the quarterback this week.
Hockensen had nothing but positive things to say about Stafford during an appearance on the “Bussin’ With the Boys” podcast. He described Stafford as a player who would do anything for his teammates and said he was beloved in the locker room.
“He’s one of those guys, again, for the boys, for all of us, he was like, ‘y’all do all this during the week. Y’all do everything I ask of you, and I’m going to go out there and do everything I can for you guys,’” Hockensen said, as transcribed by Benjamin Raven of NJ.com. “Everybody on our team respected that guy. Like everybody loved him. He will forever put a stamp on my career and in the city of Detroit. He’s, I mean, he was, like I said, one of the best — the best player I’ve ever (played with).”
Stafford, of course, was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and draft picks. Even with the Rams and Lions both playing in the NFC, Hockensen said he and everyone else in Detroit want to see Stafford win a Super Bowl.
“There’s not a guy in our locker room that’s not rooting for that guy to get a ring,” Hockensen said. “I mean, all of us loved him.”
If you want to know why Stafford has earned so much respect from his teammates, look no further than his explanation for playing through injuries.
The Lions have been one of the worst franchises in football for years, so it’s fair to wonder how Stafford would have fared elsewhere. He now has a chance to answer those questions. It’s no surprise his former teammates want to see him succeed.
Photo: A Healthier Michigan/Flickr via cc-by-sa 2.0
The 2019 NFL Draft is approaching, which means all of the speculation, rumors and insider reports will come to an end and we’ll finally see exactly what each of the 32 general managers are thinking.
As part of that, we’ll likely see a flurry of trades, with many of those coming at the top of Round 1. But the jockeying won’t end there as teams contentiously wheel-and-deal in an effort to fortify their rosters. What players will they be trying to trade up for? We have an idea.
Here’s a look at 10 prospects who are most likely to be targeted in trade-up scenarios.
10. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The overall feeling on Metcalf is mixed at best. Some have him projected to go in the top 10, others in the top 20, and more yet in the second round. It’s anyone’s guess where he eventually goes, but in the event Metcalf falls into the No. 20 range, someone is going to take a flier and not risk waiting for him to fall further. The Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers are all potential buyers in such a scenario, so keep an eye out for some late-Round 1 shakeups if Metcalf remains available at that point.
Over a century ago, Sir Francis Galton observed that over 700 participants guessing the weight of an ox at a county fair in England were near perfect in getting the exact weight when the group was averaged. More recently, James Surowiecki wrote a book on the concept of “Wisdom of the Crowds,” the idea that large groups of people are collectively smarter than an individual expert.
If you want a recent sports example that the concept works, look at individual predictions for the 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket. The Bracket Project tracked the individual predictions of 195 entries. If you took the average across all those entries, you would have been more accurate than all but six of the individual ones. That’s right, taking the collective wisdom outperformed all but 3 percent of the individual expert opinions.
I am bringing that same philosophy to this mock draft. I have reviewed 18 different mock drafts from national sites and experts (the full list and links to those mocks are at the end of this post). This mock draft presents that collective wisdom, by looking at both where players were being drafted on average, and what positions the experts were predicting teams would focus on.
One thing that can hurt a wisdom of the crowds exercise is if there is too much groupthink. However, in this case, there is plenty of variation and individual opinions. Sixty-four different players appeared in at least one of the mock drafts reviewed. So what is the consensus on how the first round will go? Let’s take a look at our mock draft.
1. Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Will Arizona really move on from Josh Rosen after one season? Right now, the consensus guess seems to be that Kyler Murray will in fact be the choice, and he will follow in Baker Mayfield’s footsteps in becoming the first overall pick at quarterback out of Lincoln Riley’s offense. Arizona has no incentive to show their Cards yet (pun intended) since they can influence trade offers both for the first pick and for Rosen by remaining publicly non-committal.