The Detroit Lions have not had a consistent quarterback since the retirement of Bobby Layne in the early 1960s. From that time until now, the team has used over two dozen quarterbacks, with varying degrees of success.
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The Detroit Lions have had some great quarterbacks throughout their history. Current quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of them. Stafford was drafted by the Lions in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He has been the Lions’ starting quarterback since his rookie season.
Matthew Stafford was born on February 7, 1988, in Tampa, Florida, the youngest of five children. His father, John, was a standout quarterback at Georgia Tech who then enjoyed a brief professional career in the World Football League. His mother, Margaret, was a schoolteacher. Stafford played football and baseball in high school and was rated as one of the top quarterback prospects in the country. He originally committed to play football at the University of Georgia but ultimately decided to turn professional after being selected by the Detroit Lions with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
Stafford attended the University of Georgia, where he played football for the Georgia Bulldogs from 2006 to 2008. As a freshman, he was a backup to senior quarterback Joe Tereshinski III and was not one of the top quarterbacks in his class. However, he took over as the starter in 2007 after Tereshinski was sidelined with an injury. In his first career start against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Stafford threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns in a 35–14 victory. He continued to start the rest of the season and finished the year with 2,478 yards and 13 touchdowns.
After his freshman year, Stafford entered his name into the NFL Draft, but decided to return to Georgia for his sophomore year after consulting with head coach Mark Richt. In 2008, Stafford led Georgia to an SEC Championship and a berth in the 2009 Sugar Bowl by completing 248 of 420 passes for 3,459 yards and 24 touchdowns during the regular season. He completed seven out of 17 passes for 220 yards and two interceptions in a 24–13 loss to Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.
Matthew Stafford was drafted by the Detroit Lions first overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Georgia. Stafford was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014 and again in 2016. He led the NFL in passing yards in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2014, he became the fastest quarterback to reach 40,000 career passing yards.
Detroit Lions Quarterback Dan Orlovsky was born on August 18, 1983 in Shelton, Connecticut. He played college football at the University of Connecticut and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, and Indianapolis Colts.
Dan Orlovsky was born and raised in Shelton, Connecticut. He played football and basketball and was a three-sport athlete at Shelton High School. As a senior, he was named All-State, All-Conference, and All-FCIAC in football. In basketball, he was named All-State and All-Conference as a junior and senior. He played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, safety, and linebacker during his high school career. Upon graduating from high school in 2001, Orlovsky was ranked as the number one quarterback in the country by ESPN.com’s Tom Lemming.
Orlovsky began his college career as a freshman at the University of Connecticut in 2001. He was thrust into the starting lineup early in his career, starting nine games as a freshman and eleven as a sophomore. As a junior, Orlovsky led the Huskies to their first Big East Conference championship and berth in a BCS bowl game, the 2004 Fiesta Bowl. He completed 203 of 360 passes for 2,487 yards and 16 touchdowns during his junior season, earning Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Dan Orlovsky began his NFL career in 2005 when he was drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Lions. He played for the Lions for five seasons, from 2005 to 2010. In 2011, he joined the Houston Texans, and played for them for one season. He rejoined the Lions in 2012 and has been their starting quarterback ever since. In his NFL career, Orlovsky has thrown for 10,705 yards and 54 touchdowns.
Jake Rudock is the current starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions. He was drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan. Rudock has had an up and down career thus far, but he looks to be the Lions’ quarterback of the future.
Jake Rudock was born on April 14, 1993, in Iowa City, Iowa. He attended Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he played football and basketball. Rudock was a three-star recruit according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com. He committed to the University of Michigan to play college football.
Rudock redshirted his first year at Michigan in 2011. He became the starting quarterback midway through his redshirt sophomore season in 2013 after Devin Gardner was injured. Rudock helped lead the Wolverines to a comeback win against Northwestern that year, and he was named the Big Ten Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. Rudock started every game for Michigan during his junior season in 2014, and he led the team to a 5–7 record.
Rudock played college football for the University of Iowa. As a freshman in 2011, Rudock appeared in four games, completing 15 of 28 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. He started Iowa’s final five games as a sophomore in 2012. In 2013, Rudock was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media. He completed 156 of 247 passes (63%) for 1,836 yards and 13 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. As a senior in 2014, Rudock was again named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten. He completed 153 of 247 passes (62%) for 2,278 yards with 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Jake Rudock was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played college football at Michigan.
Rudock was named the Lions’ backup quarterback behind Matthew Stafford during the 2016 season. He made his NFL debut on November 20, 2016, against the Minnesota Vikings, completing 1-of-4 passes for 14 yards in a 16-13 loss.