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News » Stafford's workout critical for Lions

Stafford's workout critical for Lions

Stafford's workout critical for Lions
DANA POINT, Calif. - Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz paused for several long seconds before he answered the question.

"It's hard to say for this reason -- I don't know if you can draft a player at No. 1 without feeling good about everything. So, literally, everything is make or break," Schwartz said.

The Lions will have a private workout with Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford on March 31, and Schwartz was asked about the importance of that performance. How would Schwartz rank it in terms ranging from no big deal to making or breaking Stafford as a potential No. 1 draft pick?

The Lions apparently will look at Stafford's workout as a very big deal.

"If a monkey wrench gets thrown anywhere, let's say you're evaluating quarterbacks and you're using a criteria where there are six different points you want to hit," Schwartz said. "If you're drafting a guy in the third or fourth round, you can start saying, 'OK, he doesn't have this.' Hey, it's the third round, we can't find (everything).

"But probably (at No. 1), just about everything is critical. If he throws great, but you're not happy with him mentally, and you don't think he can grasp the offense quick enough or whatever -- boom -- that can kick it out.

"It's not just the workout that is very critical, it's literally everything in that profile."

Stafford is believed to be among several players who could be taken by the Lions with the first pick. That list includes Baylor left tackle Jason Smith, Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, Virginia left tackle Eugene Monroe and Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji.

The Lions had a heavy presence at Stafford's pro day workout at Georgia last week, but Schwartz said Detroit's front office wants to see how the quarterback does in a less- scripted format.

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He gave an example of having the quarterback throw with windy conditions.

"There's nothing wrong with us saying, 'We want to see the come-back (route) thrown into the wind, but also with the wind.' You can direct that. You can put him in some situations and throw some curveballs at him, see how he reacts and how he handles that."

While Stafford likely will have the comfort of throwing to his own receivers, he won't know exactly what the Lions have in store for him.

"Before we go down, we'll have it planned out. I don't see us communicating that to him. I see us hitting him with that at the last second. We don't want him to get ready for it," Schwartz said. "Sometimes, you can have a canned nature to the workout, it can be too scripted."

Interestingly, the day after Stafford's individual workout in Athens, Ga., many members of the Lions front office will fly to California to watch the pro day workout of USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

When asked if the Lions would request an individual workout from Sanchez, too, Schwartz was noncommittal.

"It'll probably be determined through what happens with Stafford," Schwartz said. "I wouldn't read too much into it."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 26, 2009

Ike Charlton Name: Ike Charlton
Position: CB
Age: 30
Experience: 5 years
College: Virginia Tech
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