Black and Blue all over: D-Day for Stafford

March, 31, 2009
3/31/09
6:46
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

A crew of Detroit Lions executives, scouts and coaches will be in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday for the most anticipated private workout of this year's NFL draft.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford will follow a throwing regimen set by the Lions to determine once and for all whether he's worthy of the Lions' No. 1 overall pick. While it's likely they are well on their way to making that decision, this will be Stafford's final opportunity to impact their thinking.

The Lions attended Stafford's pro day on March 19, but the difference is that they can direct this workout, coach Jim Schwartz said last week at the NFL owners meeting.

Schwartz: "We can direct it. We can tell him exactly what to do on a play. We can make him throw into the wind. We can say, 'Hey, these are the throws we want to see.' When somebody else is scripting it, they can accentuate a positive. I can't sing, but probably a good producer could put me in a studio and at least hide it a little bit."

John Niyo of the Detroit News suggests the Lions are putting more stock in Stafford's performance last season for Georgia than they are in any of his draft-season workouts. But the opportunity to put him through a drill that emphasizes their own offense is too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Sports Illustrated's Peter King believes the Lions will take Baylor offensive lineman Jason Smith with the No. 1 overall pick.
  • Minnesota is working on contract extensions for several veterans, reports Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. The list likely includes cornerback Antoine Winfield, tailback Chester Taylor, linebacker Chad Greenway and perhaps tailback Adrian Peterson.
  • Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze, who is attempting a comeback after dealing with an acute case of leukemia, is working out at USC while he completes his degree, Zulgad reports. As a result, Udeze won't participate in the first day of the Vikings' offseason program when it begins next Monday.
  • Green Bay fullback John Kuhn, a restricted free agent, seems likely to return to the Packers. Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette explains.
  • A trial involving Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly was postponed until June 26, according to Andy Nelson of the Press-Gazette. Jolly was indicted Oct. 1 for felony possession of a controlled substance in Houston.
  • Veteran cornerback Nate Vasher would feel the pressure if Chicago signs cornerback Ken Lucas, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.

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