One of the biggest things that I have heard scouts say my whole life is that "Stats don't matter," and it is to this day one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. There is some truth to the statement in the fact that you can't rely on stats alone to select a player. I myself go with the a better rule in that;

"If a player didn't rack up the stats in college, don't expect them to do it in the pros."

There is no guarantee to this rule but in general there aren't many QB's in the NFL that threw for 200 yards a game in college that turn out to throw 300 on a regular basis in the NFL. If you have a receiver that only caught 700 yards and 5 touchdowns a year in college, then (Assuming you aren't attending a school like LSU or Georgia where bad coaching translates to bad QB's). And furthermore there aren't a whole lot of NFL stud defensive ends that only had four sacks a year in college.

The fact of the matter is that unless there was a problem with the defense or the offense there often aren't players that don't produce in college and then do in the pros. It makes sense if you think about it, because why would someone play better against better competition compared to the weaker?

Statistics of achievement are not the only indicator that NEEDS to be viewed. If there are statistical anomalies (good or bad) within a player  then it needs to be researched and analyzed appropriately. Here a few examples that I have pointed out in the past:

A)

I noticed last year before the 2010 draft that everyone loved Ryan Mathews but I didn't know why. He was a good threat and statistically had big games, and it was noted that his biggest game was a 19-rush, 234 yard, 3-touchdown effort against Boise State. But if you had actually watched the game you would have noticed two things. Mathews had three MONSTER runs for those three scores, and that the other rushes were below average. In fact his three touchdowns came on runs of 60,68, and 69 yards which means the rest of his rushes (16) were for 37 yards (2.5 YPC). Mathews is a player that will run for 2 yards or less for most of his plays, but then will break it for a big one or two every game. This analysis proved true in his first year because he wasn't able to break it big for anything due to tougher defenses.

B)

Matthew Stafford was the first pick in the 2009 draft and he looked like a great prospect to most. He had improved all of his statistics, looked like a great pro style QB and had a monster arm. But I noticed that he had something weird statistically. Only five times in his 39-game career did he ever complete 20 or more completions in a game, and only twice did he attempt 40 or more.

Why does this matter? It matters because in thirteen games in the pros he has had to throw 20+ completions in eight games, and has attempted 40+ in five games. Oh, and it has to be noted that both seasons he has gone on IR because of shoulder issues which means he might not have been ready to throw that often. Could it be his awful offensive line in Detroit? Sure it could but if you ask a Lions fan they will say that their offensive doesn't need to be fixed.

C)

It wouldn't be a party if I didn't mention Stafford's teammate Knowshon Moreno who was picked 12th by the Broncos in the same draft. Moreno was fast, powerful, a play maker, and some even compared him to LaDanian Tomlinson's potential. I on the other hand was scared about his game stats.

Moreno however only received 20+ carries in a game 14 of his 26 games, and more than 25 carries only four times. This means that he hadn't proven his ability to carry the load, especially when it came to running out a game late. Moreno also hadn't proved that he would be able to control a game without a great QB to help him. Knowshon has been almost just as banged up as his former teammate has been in the pros, and it may be because of his stats.

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When it comes down to it stats do mean a lot when it comes to drafting and grading prospects. I don't think elite stats are necessary but they are meaningful. I like to think of it like junior high. When you get to high school your grades in junior high are wiped away and you have to prove yourself by getting good grades. But while it is possible otherwise, it is usually the good students in junior high that end up the best students in high school.