Snap Judgments: Welcome to the draft machine, Mr. Stafford
Poring over all the glowing
Maybe a young
Oh, that's right. They didn't have pro days when Johnny U was coming out of college. No wonder he had to make due playing semi-pro ball for $6 a game that year, waiting for his big break with the Colts in '56.
My point is, deciding who can play quarterback in the NFL based on a pro-day workout is about as reliable as deciding which weekend golfers are ready for the PGA Tour based on watching them hit three buckets of balls at the driving range. Even if the swing is nice, it doesn't tell you everything about how their game would necessarily translate to the course.
That said, Stafford, by most accounts, nailed his pro day at the University of Georgia on Thursday. Having personally attended
If the Detroit Lions' decision-makers can get a sense from that whether the kid is worth investing the guaranteed $30 million-plus that will come with being the No. 1-overall pick in the draft, God speed.
"Stafford was very crisp, and very accurate,'' said one NFL personnel man I spoke with Friday morning. "He showed a strong arm, a live arm, and he made all the throws. I think he had a phenomenal workout. But go back and check your notes, when's the last time you said a quarterback didn't hit it out of the park in this type of setting?
"I went to
The veteran personnel man I talked to said Stafford consistently showed off his big arm throughout his 50-pass workout, comparing it strength-wise to recent first-round quarterbacks such as
So where does that leave Stafford in terms of his chances of going first overall to the winless Lions? Probably right where he was when his pro day started, a definite maybe... with five more weeks of intense scrutiny and analyzing still to come. Stafford's next big test comes March 31, when the Lions will put him through a private workout in Athens.
"Between Stafford and [USC quarterback
My sense in the wake of last month's scouting combine is that Detroit will end up taking one of the three top-ranked quarterbacks -- Stafford, Sanchez or Kansas State's
"I don't think the Lions have made their decision one way or another yet, and they're going to do everything possible to know this kid,'' the personnel man said. "But at some point in this league, you come to the realization that until you have a quarterback, it's going to be tough to win consistently.
"That's why if he's one of Detroit's five or six highest-rated players, they should take him. Now, if he's 15th, they shouldn't. But if it's close, they should take him, because that's how much having a quarterback means in this league.''
Earlier this month, newly signed Redskins defensive tackle
And last June, Bills running
When will this particular NFL off-field trend be curtailed? Perhaps Stallworth's plight will be the sadly necessary wake-up call for the rest of the league.
• After a one-year hiatus,
Be careful what you wish for, Shaun.
• As I predicted at the close of the first weekend of free agency, when it became apparent that no other team wanted him and he'd have to go back to Baltimore with hat in hand,
Right. Whatever you have to tell yourself, Ray.
• Player safety is not an issue you can be against, but at what point might the NFL's competition committee be taking its goals too far? Next week at the league's annual meeting, the committee will put forth measures outlawing helmet-to-helmet contact that result from blindside blocks, do away with three- or four-man wedges on kickoffs, and eliminate the bunch formation on kickoffs, where teams overload their coverage on one side of the kicker.
Football's a physical sport, and it will always be so. But there's considerably less contact allowed in the NFL today than ever before.
• I get that NFL owners aren't going to stay at a Holiday Inn just to look the part in pleading financial distress, but whose tone-deaf call was it to schedule this year's annual meeting for the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif., where rooms start around $500 a night? The St. Regis, by the way, is where those ever-popular AIG executives went on that universally panned corporate retreat just after receiving their first dose of government bailout money last fall.
• It didn't get all the attention it probably should have, but new NFL Players Association executive director