Stafford, Moreno get passing grades at combine

It has been interesting to keep up with Georgia’s two highest-profile guys being put through the paces at the NFL combine the last couple of days. Interesting, but I wouldn’t say enlightening.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno have garnered a lot of attention up in Indianapolis. That’s understandable considering they’re both expected to be first-round selections. And nothing that happened over the weekend appears to have changed that. They’re still going to be first-rounders.

Each guy answered satisfactorily the most pressing questions about them: How mobile is Stafford? How fast is Moreno? The answers: Mobile enough and fast enough.

Depending on which report you read, Moreno was clocked at 4.62 seconds in 40-yard dash with unofficial times as low as 4.53 by some scouts. Despite what you read in recruiting, these are actually very good times. Yes, five or six other backs ran faster than Moreno. But if speed was all it took be a great NFL back, then sprinter Usain Bolt would play during his track offseason. Besides you guys who have watched Moreno the last two seasons could have told them Moreno didn’t have blazing, breakaway speed. But try bringing him down behind the line of scrimmage.

Stafford elected to not pass at the combine and this seemed to generate a lot of buzz. But why should he? By all accounts, he’s still the man to beat as the top quarterback pick and perhaps as the No. 1 pick overall. That puts him in an advantageous position. Why not show what he can do on his own terms on his own turf? He will do that at UGA’s pro day next month and bring a lot of attention to his alma mater at the same time. Meanwhile, Stafford went through interview process and ran the 40 and other agility drills. His 4.84 was better than the 4.97 Mark Sanchez based on the reports I saw. He did nothing to hurt his status and might have helped it.

But as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said himself, a lot that comes out of the NFL combine is “much ado about nothing.” It’s a big deal this weekend and everybody’s talking about it because there is no other football going on. But it will represent only a portion of the data NFL general managers utilize when deciding whom to pick in April’s draft.

Your thoughts?

Some links:

According to’s “Risers and Sliders, Knowshon Moreno and Kenny McKinley were a couple of the big winners at the NFL combine.

Here’s a good ESPN video I ran across of Matthew Stafford prepping for the NFL combine interview process.

Be sure to check out this great AJC photo gallery by Brant Sanderlin of the current Bulldogs going through offseason workouts. . . .

In case you didn’t see it, our Thomas Stinson did a good story on Dan Parker of Parker Executive Search, who is spearheading Georgia’s initial search for a basketball coach, and the extensive use of search firms overall these days. . . .

Looks like it’ll be a few days still before Tampa tight end Orson Charles, the Bulldogs’ final target, makes a decision. reports on his recruiting visit to Southern Cal this past weekend.

53 comments Add your comment


February 23rd, 2009
10:31 am

Redblood, you’re a douche.


February 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

Seriously, I think it’s time for some new material nerd


February 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

Looks like Geathers signed with UGA on Friday. Didn’t see if this was reported or not, but we could use him on either side of the ball. Check Rivals for more info. Just need Charles to sign on now.


February 23rd, 2009
10:54 am

Here you go Redblood:

Atlanta Gator

February 23rd, 2009
10:54 am

Well, speaking as an older guy whose 40 time is now approaching double digits, those times sound pretty good. All kidding aside, Moreno’s running style is all about his moves, not his blazing speed. Sort of like Emmitt Smith, and, if memory serves, Emmitt had a pretty darn good pro career. Knowshon will, too.

As for Stafford, I don’t think anyone thought of him as a scrambling quarterback, either before or after the combine. Stafford’s real value is his Big Gun. The questions about Stafford all relate to the targeting system behind the Big Gun. Time will tell.

Atlanta Gator

February 23rd, 2009
10:56 am

Chip—-This is my first time posting on the new WordPress blog format. It’s much cleaner and a long-over-due improvement to the AJC sports blogs. Nevertheless, I do miss the ability to bold or italicize text.

You are crazy

February 23rd, 2009
10:57 am

Moreno passsing grade? Come on. He sucked @ss. Did you even watch it? He ran 4.62 and 4.71. That’s a joke. He dropped passes as well. He was a noshow just like he was in big games in college. The only thing he did well in was the 3 cone drill. I’m suprised he didn’t take himself out of the combine like he did in college all the time. Heck, Stafford ran a 4.8, about the same speed as noshow.


February 23rd, 2009
10:59 am

I’m sure that I am in the minority here, but frankly I don’t care what happens to these two guys. I don’t wish them ill, but they left UGA when they could play one more year and win some more games. I have more respect for Tebow for staying at UF than I do for Stafford. Stafford clearly came here with one purpose in mind and that was to make himself NFL-ready. Sorry I’m just old-fashioned and I think that you should finish what you start.


February 23rd, 2009
11:04 am

Still not sure why either of them went pro. Pollack explained on their radio show that it’s not that hard to take out an insurance policy. They both could’ve benefited greatly from another year in college. Stafford would be the #1 pick next year too and wouldn’t have the weight of turning around the first 0-16 team in NFL history. Whatever.


February 23rd, 2009
11:11 am

Interesting YOshon’s 40 times were that “low”. I’d have forseen him between 4.56-4.62, etc. It’s also of note that Stafford’s 40 time was better than Sanchez, who’s held as the better “athlete”.

true fan

February 23rd, 2009
11:36 am

you are crazy: your an idiot. so moreno was a noshow in big games. against fla in his first start. 188 yards, 3 tds.back to back 1,000 yrd seasons with 3 freshmen on the line each time. next time when you have a thought, just let it go. you clearly know NOTHING about Football.

Tired of people whining about Stafford and Moreno

February 23rd, 2009
11:37 am

FalconUGAFan, you are horribly naive and misinformed. The Tebow comparison is ludicrous because Tim Tebow was not projected to go much higher than the 2nd round. Tim Tebow had a much easier decision than Matthew Stafford. He will benefit from sticking around. Matthew Stafford likely would not and had much to lose. And if you think Matthew Stafford is the only UGA player that comes to UGA with designs to make himself “NFL ready” you are in la la land. They all do. Every single last one of them. Which brings me to my next point, SO WHAT? Those of you questioning Stafford’s intelligence are probably the same one’s questioning his decision to leave early for $30 million in guaranteed money. I submit that you are the ones with the intelligence problem, not Stafford.

And if you don’t think having two NFL 1st rounders will up Georgia’s profile you are once again in la la land. Georgia can only benefit from this. It is a nice milestone for the program. You should be thrilled. You should hope that these guys go on to become NFL hall of famers because Georgia will only benefit from it. These guys did everything they could to help Georgia win football games and they owe you nothing. Quit your whining.

Too Easy

February 23rd, 2009
11:43 am

Everyone going to college is looking to get a job offer when they get out. Some get high-paying offers before they graduate. What a country!

Chip Towers

February 23rd, 2009
11:44 am

Sounds like most everyone likes the new format. Glad to hear that. . . .

Fair warning Redblood, but immaturity such as you’re displaying won’t be tolerated. . . .

Mark: They went pro because they’ll be multi-millionaires in about eight weeks. . . .

You are crazy: Actually I didn’t watch it. The only way I would is if I was assigned to cover it. I watched their highlights on the Internet and read about a half-dozen reports on them. Then I formed my own opinion, which is coming from the perch of objectivity. Do me this favor: Remember your comments and recite them back to us here exactly on draft day.


February 23rd, 2009
11:44 am

Outside the recievers and a few TEs, none of the 40-times were all that impressive. Knowshon showed up at 217 and did 25 reps; that’s the biggest thing. I don’t know why you would throw at the combine to receivers you aren’t familiar with. Quote from Maclin “I outran the throw”. Thats how he got hurt.

I think everyone whose feelings are still hurt need to get over it. We could have the number 1 pick at two skill positions and the number 3 fullback. Thats a pretty d#%n awesome backfield that we got to watch. Talent is in the cupboard; let’s root for our team and alumni. Just a shame they arent positions of need for the Falcons. Go Dawgs!

bank walker

February 23rd, 2009
11:45 am

To all you haters: Both will be able to you out of their front pockets in a couple of months! GO DAWGS!!


February 23rd, 2009
11:57 am

Tired blah blah blah.

I never mentioned their intelligence. I simply think that they should finish with the team. I’m not talking about what is best for their draft spot. I’m talking about what they owe the team, not me. I’m not in la la land, because I do understand that is the ultimate goal for any ballplayer. It should be the ultimate goal (to be their best) for anyone in any profession. Really no need to insult people for their opinions is there? Take your anger out on someone else.


February 23rd, 2009
12:05 pm

Tired of people….. Thank you, my sentiments exactly. Those kids represented UGA well. They will go on to represent UGA well in the NFL. Obviously they played well enough while AT UGA to go as first rounders in the draft. I would expect that kind of talent to come back when their futures are pretty much taken care of, whether or not they ever take a snap in the NFL. As a fan I don’t think they had anything else to prove in college. I am just thankful that we had two talented players to watch the past couple of years. Good luck to them.


February 23rd, 2009
12:06 pm

We knew Knowshown was not a 4.4 guy, but those times were terrible. He slipped alot of spots in the 1st round with those times, unless he can run faster at the pro day.

Tired of people whining about Stafford and Moreno

February 23rd, 2009
12:30 pm

FalconUGAfan, the rules say that you are eligible for the NFL draft 3 years after high school graduation. This is a very well known rule. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Mark Richt and the rest of the coaching staff were fully aware of this rule when they offered these guys a scholarship. I’m even going to take things a step further and say that their teammates were aware of this rule too. So what do they owe the team? I guess Stafford owes them $30 million because that is what he could potentially have given up if he came back. You are indeed in la la land.

I am not angry, just tired of people whining about Stafford and Moreno. Hence the name.


February 23rd, 2009
12:39 pm

Tired take note of gdawginkalamazoo’s comments. He/she stated his opinion without bringing anyone else into the discussion. I happen to agree with alot that gdawg says. Well put.

Anyway, glad to hear they maintained their status and I wish them well.


February 23rd, 2009
1:21 pm

How many of you out there are going to be offered a job paying $85 million? If you have a college degree, and will make more than Stafford and Moreno, your criticism of them not finishing school will be valid. If not, please go to the soccer mom’s webesite and whine about participation and box drinks. This blog is about big boy football and big boy business. see ya in April.


February 23rd, 2009
1:27 pm

The reason people go to college is to get a job. Stafford and Moreno are going to have very good jobs and set for life. If they are talking about drafting you as the #1 pick then there are many reasons to come out. About 100 million reasons. Anyways I wish that they would have stayed at UGA for personal reasons, but I wish them the best in their NFL careers


February 23rd, 2009
1:35 pm

My thoughts? You’re asking my thoughts? I’ll tell you what I think. I think Stafford is a putz, and I think Moreno is a sissy.

chip woodson

February 23rd, 2009
1:40 pm

i just know if i was either ot them i would not wait until next year to earn my 30 million. i’m sure if they were injured the people who are upset they left would not want to give them anything.


February 23rd, 2009
1:57 pm

Yeah they could have stayed another year, it sure helped Quentin Moses didn’t it. Quentin was projected as a first rounder if he had gone after his great junior season. His senior season, teams stayed away from his side and Charles Johnson got the benefit and the accolades. Moses lost money staying an extra year. He wound up as a third round pick barely twenty spots above his teammate Johnson. I think the program will do fine without Stafford and Moreno, having them go in the top round will not hurt future recruiting either. Good luck guys, just keep your noses clean so you can earn the money to set the plans for the rest of your lives.


February 23rd, 2009
1:58 pm

I would have loved to see them stay and bring a SEC championship to UGA. However, the lure of the NFL and big money took them. Can’t say as I blame them for that. I’d probably do the same thing. I just feel that one day when they look back on their careers they will be disappointed that they don’t have an SEC championship to cherish.


February 23rd, 2009
2:21 pm


February 23rd, 2009
2:31 pm

Great players, I’m gonna enjoy watching them on sunday.


February 23rd, 2009
2:48 pm

Chip, any word on a BB coach? Getting beat by three touchdowns by Ole Miss just made me wonder what was going on there? I imagine this will be something that carries over until the madness is over with next month.


February 23rd, 2009
3:10 pm

The 40 yard dash time in shorts, running in a straight line with no tacklers going for you is the biggest waste of time and judge of how an NFL back is going to perform.

Anyone who has doubts that Moreno will not succeed based on his bad time in the 40 is going to be proven wrong. I hope Moreno goes to Denver or to San Diego, where he’ll be able to shine and show everyone he can be a 3 down back in the NFL for the next decade.


February 23rd, 2009
3:18 pm

You people who think 40 times are all that matters know absolutely nothing about football. Knowshon will be a top 20 pick (at worst) and his 40 time will have ZERO effect on that.


February 23rd, 2009
3:29 pm

what “Buzz” about Stafford on the combine. Doesn’t one have to participate at the combine to have a true “Buzz” at the combine? If his “Gun” is the thing, let’s see it. Hate to say it, but Matthew Stafford strikes me as the bust in waiting. Once again, all the tools, yes, but all the signs are buyer beware. Lots of “Guns have come through.

This guy has proven over and over again he doesn’t have the “it” factor when it comes to winning the big games against good teams; FL, AL, SC, TN, (GT last year)…

Beats up on Hawaii, Kentucky, Georgia Southern, etc. etc.

But when the stakes are on the line…in the games his team needs…he folds more often than delivers. Contrary to his own self-assessment, There is NO, ZERO, NADA, NOTHIN, in a comparison of this guy to someone like Ryan or Flacco; Both 5th year SENIORS who chose to return to college, pass up draft, money, hype, money, popularity, money, avoid injury risk, money….etc. etc. All of which Mr. Stafford is all too “good” to bother with, (except for the money). Please.

Both Ryan and Flacco , both being high on QB draft radars also, chose to work out in ALL Combine drills….and chose also to work out in additional Pro Days.

I may be wrong…who knows, maybe this kid is the next Dan Marino, but all signs are pointing to this guy being the next Alex Smith. No, I’m sorry, Alex Smith is a pretty decent guy, I meant the next Ryan Leaf. NO way I draft this guy, even if I’m picking for Detroit, or the Chiefs. I go Sanchez. NFL qb’ing is all about guts and the will to win, sprinkled with a necessity of the physical capabilties.
Sanchez is showing the “it” factor that Stafford is so transparently trying to cover up.

Paul Hamilton

February 23rd, 2009
3:30 pm

You are crazy,

you obviously didn’t watch it either because the official times for Moreno were 4.55 and 4.62. I watched all the drills on the nfl network live, so maybe you should check your information since you obviously watched it. He also put up 25 reps on the bench press, which was only three less then Sutherland who finished third overall for RB’s. He was a physical specimen out there, and while he didn’t blow anyone out of the water, he looked fine in all of his drills. I thought he looked good in the passing drills. We all knew he didn’t have blazing speed, and so did the nfl people.

It seems like most of the nfl people have Moreno as the #1 RB, even after the drills.

Why would Stafford throw? Peyton Manning told him to wait, which would be enough for me if I was in the same situation.

marseilles mutt

February 23rd, 2009
3:44 pm

How can anyone, ANYONE, in their right minds condemn someone for ponying up to the bar to accept millions of dollars? Be serious! As a UGA fan I certainly cannot help but wish them anything but the best.

Further, when you think about it, Stafford is really doing both UGA and the entire state a favor by waiting to display his wares at Pro Day rather than at the combine. Probably more than a little shakin’ going on in Athens with positive exposure in the national media. I wonder what kind of comments/ complaints we will get from the “Noise from Knoxville”? Surely LK can find something illegal in all the free publicity that UGA, CMR, and the Dawgs will garner from ESPN, FOX, SI, et al on Pro Day! Wonder if UT has a Pro day, and if so who will show up, or care, media wise?


February 23rd, 2009
3:45 pm

Both players 1st rounders-they are gone -lets move on.

UGA VII in '08

February 23rd, 2009
4:26 pm

They’re both dead to me.


February 23rd, 2009
4:29 pm

Best wishes to both of them. Hope they do well on Sundays and thanks for the years at UGA – you did the team proud!


February 23rd, 2009
4:29 pm

NativeBird, Matt Ryan did NOT throw at the combine last year. He did exactly what Matthew Stafford is doing this year. He did all the running drills at the combine and then threw at Boston College’s pro day. You are totally clueless. I cannot believe that you wasted precious minutes of your life typing all of that inane garbage. You will never get those minutes back my clueless friend.


February 23rd, 2009
5:20 pm

I believe Knowshon will run a better 40 at the Pro Day in Athens. He had an awkward starting stance and seemed to lose a couple of ticks just getting “out of the gate”. His times were 4.55 and 4.62 (as someone else noted above). I found it interesting that a lot of people ran a slower 40 than they were projected. Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy were expected to be in the low 4.3 range, possibly into the 4.2’s, but both were over 4.4 (still about 4.4 again faster than my time would be, if I could even make the whole 40 yards at all…). Stafford did show that he is a little more athletic than some gave him credit for. I appreciate his time at UGA, but tend to look back on it now as his own extended infommercial for the NFL. He and Knowshon both represented themseleves and the university well while they were there.

G Davis

February 23rd, 2009
5:35 pm

Native Bird do your homework. All the teams you say Stafford lost were also teams he won against. You also said Matt Ryan did all the drills at the combine. He did not. Seriously how about a little due diligence before you start spewing so much crap. You can’t and will not be taken seriously if you claim mistakes as fact. Now go back to your mothers basement and shut up.

Atlanta Gator

February 23rd, 2009
5:47 pm

Way to go, Chip Towers! Did you delete that jerk’s comments? Looks like we finally have a new blog mediator policy to go with the new blog format.

“Fair warning,” indeed. LOL


February 23rd, 2009
8:50 pm

As has already been said, Matt Ryan did not throw at the combine, neither did either of the Manning brothers. The top QB in the draft rarely throws at the combine. There is no reason for him to. As for Flacco and Ryan “passing up the draft”, that is absurd. No one was looking for those two to come out early. The Stafford hate is really getting ridiculous. The guy did the best he could with almost no protection from his OL and only one true #1 reciever in a three year period.


February 23rd, 2009
9:28 pm

Anyone able to shed light on the wristband that Stafford and Sanchez are wearing?


February 23rd, 2009
10:09 pm

Come on folks….UGA used Stafford and Moreno to win alot of games. In turn, they used UGA to get to the NFL. That is a fair trade-off. As for the education, two points; 1) – Many players have returned to get their degrees after their careers ended (see article last week)…2) – Dennis Felton had his players trailing only Vandy in the SEC in acedemics but winning 50% of his games for 3 out of 4 years got him fired so obviously we don’t care about acedemics as much as we pretend…winning is the name of that game. College is supposed to help prepare you for the next step in your life. We’ve had alot of successful athletes so it would seem Richt & co. are doing their job. We were very good before these guys got here and we will be very good when they are gone. Good luck to Moreno and Stafford in that next step. Stafford to the Chiefs and Moreno to the Broncos sounds like a winner. Anything but the Lions…


February 23rd, 2009
11:10 pm

I like Stafford to the Lions. He and Calvin Johnson could make for some exciting football. The lack of defense could make for a long season, however.

I don’t blame Matt or Knowshon for leaving early. Everyone in their right mind should. But that said… there have been top players (not just the Tebows) that have returned to the college scene. And if fans want to give Stafford and Moreno grief because of those examples, then so be it. The NFL isn’t for pansies. And I’m sure Staff and Moreno are more than capable of taking heat from a few fans loading off steam.

Thomas Brown

February 24th, 2009
12:32 am

DELETE You are Crazy. Remove the handle. Let him spend his time setting up new accounts every day. Keep him busy doing that.



February 24th, 2009
1:02 am

Nice Braves site, lots of minor league stuff:


February 24th, 2009
6:05 am

I’m happy for Staff and Moreno. It’s kind of ironic that Staff may actually get to play with Calvin Johnson, who should’ve been his teammate at UGA when Johnson picked Tech over UGA on signing day. Staff is the ONLY QB in college who is allowed to check off at the line, and when you add his NFL arm into the equation that makes him the top QB prospect in this draft bar-none. Moreno will be just fine and I’m looking forward to seeing him at the next level. I really enjoyed his time in Athens and if Caleb King, Richard Samuel, and co can give us what Moreno did GA will be just fine with everybody coming back on the oline. Staff could have stayed for his senior year but I can’t blame him for leaving a year early. He’s got 30 mil guranteed coming his way and I guess that will keep him satisfied as he plays for those perenial LOSERS in Detroit!!

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