April 25, 2009 / 8:29 PM / 11 years ago

Lions name quarterback Stafford top draft pick

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Detroit Lions named University of Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford as number one pick on Saturday, finalizing the biggest draft deal of all time.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford from the University of Georgia speaks to the media after being selected by the Detroit Lions as the number one overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York April 25, 2009. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

Detroit, selecting first of the 32 clubs after becoming the league’s maiden 0-16 team last season, agreed a six-year, $72 million contract with the 21-year-old.

Out of the total package, $41.7 million is guaranteed.

Stafford led Georgia to a 27-7 record as a starter, throwing 51 touchdown passes against 33 interceptions through his junior year last season.

Despite his credentials, fans wearing football jerseys in the third balcony of the Radio City Music Hall venue booed the selection and chanted “overrated” as Stafford posed for pictures with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“I’m extremely happy they had the confidence in me to choose me,” Stafford told reporters. “I feel I’m ready for the challenge.”


Asked about going to the victory-starved Lions, he said: “Winning cures a lot of stuff and hopefully that’s what I can do.”

The St Louis Rams were next up and made 343-pound (155.6-kg) Baylor tackle Jason Smith the second pick of the draft while the Kansas City Chiefs claimed Louisiana State University defensive end Tyson Jackson as the third selection.

After the Seattle Seahawks grabbed Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth pick, the Cleveland Browns traded the fifth choice to the New York Jets who selected University of Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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