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Lions turn focus to Stafford
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Since the Lions lost out on quarterback Jay Cutler, the focus has increased on Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford potentially becoming the No. 1 pick in the draft.

While there is speculation the Lions could select left tackles Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith or linebacker Aaron Curry, some experts think Stafford sits atop the Lions’ draft board. At least for now.

"At the end of the day, it probably comes down to how much they like Matt Stafford or don’t because they need a quarterback, that’s the most important position," former Texans and Redskins general manager Charley Casserly said recently in a phone interview.

"And if they are sold on him, that’s probably where they’ll turn first."

Whether the Lions are sold on Stafford is the $30-million-in-guaranteed-money question.

The possibility of a trade remains, but no team has tried to acquire the top pick since Atlanta traded for San Diego’s No. 1 in 2001 and selected Michael Vick. This year, there isn’t a clear-cut top pick like Vick.

"If there is, I don’t know who it is," said Gil Brandt, a former personnel executive for Dallas. "I keep coming back to Stafford, and Stafford’s been kicked around a little bit.

"But when you look at what he’s done, Georgia has had eight players picked over the last two years. The highest pick was a third-round pick, and they were both defensive players."

The quality of Stafford’s supporting offensive cast at Georgia is debatable. But Casserly said the junior could benefit from some seasoning anyway.

"I think Stafford’s a talented player. ... But maybe he shouldn’t play right away," Casserly said. "Carson Palmer didn’t play his rookie year. Daunte Culpepper didn’t play his rookie year. Donovan McNabb didn’t play until late into his rookie year. So I’m not so sure it isn’t better to bring the guy in, let him sit for a year, and then have him ready to go the second year."

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