Stanton has also been a member of the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts.
Drew grew up in Okemos, Michigan, a large suburb of Lansing which borders the campus of Michigan State. When he was 9 he suffered a bike accident and got a pebble lodged under his right knee. The doctor did not think it was a hazard to his health and to this day he has a rock behind his knee His family moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he played peewee-football and continued to play until his sophomore year at Lake Oswego High School. Eventually, the Stanton family moved to Farmington Hills, Michigan, where he graduated from Harrison High School.
Stanton was ranked as a 4-star prospect coming out of high school by Rivals.com, and was also ranked the #6 Pro-Style Quarterback in the country.
Stanton redshirted through Michigan State's 2002 campaign before serving as the #2 QB behind Jeff Smoker in 2003. In 2003, he also played on special teams where he made several impressive open field tackles. However, Stanton injured his knee in the Alamo Bowl against the University of Nebraska while covering a punt and had to undergo reconstructive surgery. After becoming the starter in 2004, Drew received regional and national praise for his play on the field and was also named an Academic All-American.
Going into his senior season (2006), Stanton had been mentioned as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate and visited New York twice for the presentation. He had been listed as high as the #2 QB in the 2007 NFL Draft by ESPN. Despite not having any substantial injuries in his high school and early college years, Stanton suffered at least one significant injury in each of 2005, 2006 and 2007.
In 2006, Stanton led the Spartans to the largest point margin comeback in NCAA Division I-A history. Against conference foe Northwestern University, he accounted for 331 total yards and three touchdowns, coming back from a 35-point third quarter deficit. He began his prime time performance with an 18-yard TD pass, and he later ran for a 12-yard score. In the fourth quarter, Stanton completed six straight passes before capping the game-tying march with a 9-yard strike with 3:43 remaining. He eventually directed the drive that resulted in a game-winning field goal to complete a 41–38 victory.
For his career at MSU, Stanton completed 64% of his passes throwing for 6,524 yards, with 42 touchdowns and 28 interceptions while also rushing for another 1,512 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Stanton participated as a QB in the 2007 Senior Bowl, where he helped lead the North to victory. He was named the Offensive MVP for the North.
Stanton was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 43rd overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. He was placed on season-ending injured reserve during training camp on August 3, 2007 after having knee surgery.
In 2008, Stanton sprained his thumb on his throwing arm during preseason, keeping him out the remainder of the preseason. After Jon Kitna was placed on IR, Stanton moved up to 2nd string QB, behind Dan Orlovsky.
Stanton made his NFL debut in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (entering in relief of Daunte Culpepper, whom the Lions had signed only days earlier after Orlovsky suffered a thumb injury). He threw a 1-yard touchdown on his first career passing attempt and finished the game having completed 6 of 8 pass attempts for 94 yards.
The 2009 season began with Stanton as third string QB behind 2009 NFL Draft first overall choice Matthew Stafford and previous starter Daunte Culpepper. With Stafford injured for the Week 6 game against the Green Bay Packers, Stanton relieved Culpepper who was also injured during the game. He threw 2 interceptions in a 0–26 loss for the Lions. Stanton appeared again in relief of Culpepper in Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals. He was 10/19 passing with 1 interception, however he scored on a 1-yard rushing TD on a draw play – with Arizona winning 24–31. Stanton made his first career start Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.
During the 2010 season, Stanton saw action again as Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill went down with injuries. He came in as relief for Shaun Hill against the New York Giants and went 19/34 passing for 222 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He made his second career start against the Bears in Week 13 and went 16/24 passing for 178 yards and one touchdown. He started the next game against the Green Bay Packers and lead the Detroit Lions to a victory with a 13-yard TD pass to Will Heller. Drew also helped the Lions achieve their first road win in over 3 years, leading them to a 23–20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stanton was signed by the New York Jets on March 16, 2012. After the Jets acquired Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos on March 21, Stanton requested a release or trade.
On March 23, 2012, the Jets traded Stanton to the Indianapolis Colts and a seventh round pick in the 2012 draft for a sixth round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Indianapolis Colts also chose Andrew Luck over Stanton for the starting position.
On March 13, 2013, Stanton signed a three-year, $8.2 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Stanton served as backup quarterback to Carson Palmer whom the Cardinals acquired from the Oakland Raiders on April 2, 2013. After Palmer's shoulder injury in week one of 2014, Stanton became the starter for week two against the New York Giants, making his first start since 2010. On October 5, 2014, Stanton sustained a concussion on a hit from Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. After Carson Palmer suffered a season-ending injury in week 10, Stanton stepped in and led the Cardinals to their 8th and 9th wins of the season. In December, he suffered an MCL sprain and then subsequent infection, missing the rest of the season. Stanton played seldom during the 2015-2016 season in relief of Palmer. In the 2015 Week 17 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, Drew Stanton was brought in for the 2nd half of the game after Head Coach Bruce Arians pulled Palmer due to the Cardinals already having locked up the division and 2nd seed in the NFC.
On March 8, 2016, Stanton signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals worth $6.5 million with 4.5 million guaranteed that goes to 2018. Stanton primarily served as Palmer's backup again in 2016. He came in relief of Palmer after he suffered a concussion in Week 4 against the Rams, completing 4 of 11 passes for 37 yards and two interceptions in a 13-17 loss. He made his only start of the season the following week completing 11 of 28 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-21 win over the 49ers.
Stanton is the son of Gaylord and Christine Stanton. He is committed to charity work and created the High 5ive Foundation in support of the Special Olympics and the Children's Miracle Network, his two favorite charities, among others. The name came from the number (5) on his Lions jersey and he says his goal is to have five major fundraisers per year. "This is truly a passion for me, and I try to get involved in the community as much as possible," he says. He is a member of the national fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Michigan State University. His agent is Mike McCartney. He married Kristin Schrock on June 27, 2009. He graduated with a major in kinesiology. He is a Christian. Stanton is also well-known throughout the NFL for his extravagant touchdown dances.