All 32 NFL teams had representatives in Athens, Ga., and some, including the Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, had multiple people on hand. Including coaches, players, agents, relatives, university staff and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock and Deion Sanders, over 200 people had to be in attendance.
Of course, the star of the show was quarterback Matthew Stafford, the potential No. 1 overall draft pick by the Lions next month. Stafford piqued so much interest because he didn’t throw at the draft combine, and people wanted to see if the strong arm they witnessed on film is as legit in person. It is.
Helping Stafford prove his point, he threw in breezy conditions, frequently piercing Mother Nature’s attempt to take some starch or aim off some of his passes. Stafford was mostly accurate on the 50 scripted throws. He sailed a few passes over the heads of some of his receivers, but he didn’t do anything to hurt himself on draft boards.
Stafford had the benefit of throwing to Georgia wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi, Kenneth Harris and Demiko Goodman and tight end Tripp Chandler, who also were working out for NFL scouts. His familiarity with those receivers and the structured environment clearly benefited Stafford. It also showed why some quarterbacks would rather not throw at the combine to receivers with whom they aren’t familiar and under the guidance of coaches they don’t know.
Stafford told me before he threw today that he would continue to train in Athens because the Lions plan to put him through a private workout March 31. Detroit is doing its homework on several players, but Stafford clearly is on the radar.
Tailback Knowshon Moreno, a likely first-round pick, also went through most of his drills, even though he said he lost about seven pounds (he weighed in at 210) after being sick the past few days. He ran about a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, which was consistent with what he did at the combine.
During the workout, Moreno’s agents received a call for him to finalize a private workout for the San Diego Chargers on March 30. The Chargers own the 16th overall pick in the draft.