Stafford Delivers

Stafford Delivers

ATHENS – After Matthew Stafford passed on passing at the NFL combine last month, the hype grew steadily as myriad scouts and fans waited to see his arm on display at today's Georgia Pro Day.

As it turned out, it was a pretty typical performance for the former Bulldogs quarterback.

Stafford missed a few throws, was a touch too long on some and left his receivers waiting an extra half-second on others, but in between he managed to impress observers enough that the reviews still came out glowing.

"That arm is different," Georgia strength and conditioning coach Dave Van Halanger said. "I was talking to a guy who is a vice president of one of the team, and he said, 'Wow, we don't even have that in our league.'"

Another scout told Mark Richt he saw Stafford make throws he had never seen another quarterback at make at that level, and while officials from all 32 NFL teams took in the show, it will be up to the Detroit Lions to decide if Stafford will be at the top of this year's draft class.

The Lions had several team officials there to watch Stafford throw, including general manager Martin Mayhew, who played at Florida State under Van Halanger in his college days.

Mayhew was among the many who were impressed with Stafford's performance, and he'll get another up-close-and-personal view later this month. Stafford will hold his only private workout for an NFL team in front of Lions officials in Athens on March 31.

For now, however, Stafford said he wasn't too concerned about draft day. Of course, that didn't mean the rest of the Georgia staff didn't have their hopes set high.

"We've had guys like Knowshon (Moreno) that are great players and are going to get drafted in the top 10, but I've never been around a No. 1 pick, and I've been around a lot of great players," he said. "It's pretty special."

Special isn't exactly how Stafford described his day. He would have like to have put on a pristine performance that put any criticism of his sometimes erratic arm to bed, but he was nevertheless pleased with what he did accomplish.

"I felt like I was throwing it pretty good," he said. "I didn't complete every ball, which you'd like to do, but that's tough to do when you're throwing 50."

At one point, Stafford overthrew a deep route to Kenneth Harris and swatted his leg in disgust. It was about the only sign of emotion the quarterback showed throughout the process, and even that was short-lived.

"I hit that 1,000 times when I was here," Stafford said. "It's no big deal though. They've seen it 100 times on film."

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