Georgia QB Stafford wows with strong, accurate arm

At Georgia's pro day in Athens Ga., QB Matthew Stafford made a case to be picked first in April's NFL Draft. (John Bazemore / Associated Press)

At Georgia's pro day in Athens Ga., QB Matthew Stafford made a case to be picked first in April's NFL Draft. (John Bazemore / Associated Press)

It was a circus atmosphere Thursday in Athens, Ga., for Matthew Stafford’s much-anticipated pro-day workout.

The Georgia quarterback did nothing to hurt his standing as one of the draft’s top prospects. He was measured, and he threw for representatives of all 32 teams, including general manager Martin Mahew and quarterbacks coach Jeff Horton of the Detroit Lions, who own the top overall pick, as well as GM Tim Ruskell of the Seattle Seahawks, who have the fourth selection. In all, 70 scouts and coaches were on hand to watch Stafford and other Georgia prospects work out.

While Stafford (6-foot-2 5/8, 225 pounds) chose to stand on his combine numbers, he did throw 50 passes in a scripted workout that was run at a quick pace. My sources on the ground in Athens all agreed that of the 50 passes, only three weren’t thrown with accuracy. Stafford rolled out, threw deep comebacks … he threw everything. Unlike the quarterbacks who threw at the combine, Stafford had the benefit of throwing to some of his former Georgie teammates.

But the big thing is that Stafford showed a strong arm and good accuracy. His second-to-last pass was a 35-yarder down the right sideline that was on the money to Demiko Goodman.

What did I learn from Stafford’s workout? That I wouldn’t be worried if I were the Lions about taking him with the No. 1 pick.

If Stafford has one fault, it’s that he throws the ball a lot like Brett Favre. Because he has such a strong arm and is such a great athlete, Stafford takes chances on throws that he shouldn’t attempt. It’s not because he doesn’t understand coverages; it’s just that he has superior confidence in his arm and ability. That’s a fault that can be corrected.

Some say Stafford is an underachiever, but I think that’s an unfair label. He won at Alabama in overtime. You don’t win those kind of games unless you’re a competitor.

Gil Brandt

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