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Detroit conducted a private workout with Stafford last month that was different from the quarterback's pro day at Georgia. During an interview on Sirius NFL Radio, Bulldogs wide receiver and Stafford workout partner Ken Harris told me the Lions slowed the session's pace. That allowed team brass to take an even longer look at Stafford. Detroit coaches also emphasized more crossing routes to see how well Stafford could connect on those types of throws.

He must have passed with flying colors.

You don't need to score a 37 out of 50 on the Wonderlic like Stafford did to know that he can't resurrect an 0-16 franchise on his own. Detroit must hit on its draft picks — including four more in the top 82 — like Atlanta did last year after choosing quarterback Matt Ryan (who, incidentally, also wasn't an overwhelmingly popular choice among Falcons fans initially).

Detroit can't rush Stafford onto the field before he is ready and potentially ruin his confidence à la Harrington. The Lions also would be wise to sign a veteran quarterback who can help Stafford's development with classroom tips. I don't see Daunte Culpepper serving as much of a mentor while trying to resurrect his own career as a temporary Lions starter.

Lewand may have tipped his draft hand Monday when saying the No. 1 pick was not about "the quick fix." Lewand also said he hoped the players Detroit drafts this weekend are "part of that cornerstone of the franchise."

In today's NFL, a franchise needs a cornerstone quarterback. The days when a Trent Dilfer could win a Super Bowl are over. Even with a great defense, the "caretaker" quarterback can take a team only so far. Look at the past three champions. Peyton and Eli Manning were named Super Bowl MVPs. And in February, Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated the brilliant 78-yard drive that helped Pittsburgh edge Arizona.

I'm not promising that Stafford will hit those heights. But I also can understand why the Lions felt this was a risk worth taking. Detroit fans should realize that, too, before making an already daunting challenge even more difficult by not supporting Stafford.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 25, 2009

Miami Dolphins News

News » Don't be too quick to rip Stafford pick


Don't be too quick to rip Stafford pick


Don't be too quick to rip Stafford pick
NEW YORK - Matthew Stafford: Be warned.


When introduced Saturday as the draft's first choice, the best Stafford can hope for is a mixed response from the Detroit Lions fans at Radio City Music Hall. At worst, he will be exposed to the same kind of abuse that team president Tom Lewand received before the Lions made Stafford their new $78 million quarterback.

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Nathan Jones Name: Nathan Jones
#33
Position: CB
Age: 26
Experience: 5 years
College: Rutgers
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