A Different Pro Day Feel

ATHENS – A year ago, Athens was among the hottest travel destinations in the country for NFL scouts and general managers.

Former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford was atop many draft boards, and his pro day workout – combined with workouts from Knowshon Moreno and Mohamed Massaquoi – garnered plenty of national attention.

When the Bulldogs host their annual pro today in Athens, the box office cache won't be quite so high, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot on the line for the latest crop of former Georgia players now hoping for a shot at the next level.

Defensive tackle Jeff Owens was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl, then dazzled at the combine with some impressive workout numbers. He could secure a spot in the late first round of the draft with a strong pro day.

Others like linebacker Rennie Curran need a successful outing in front of scouts today to raise their draft stock and eliminate a few concerns that might remain in the minds of NFL executives. A hamstring injury cut his combine workouts short, and he's now hoping to turn pro day into his coming out party for scouts.

"The main thing was I got to see my competition and what I needed to work on, (at the combine) which ended up being a good thing," Curran said. "I came back and went back to work, and I know what I need to improve on for Pro Day and how to impress those coaches even more."

Curran figures to get drafted regardless of how much he impresses the scouts today, but other members of last year's Bulldogs are planning to use today's workouts as their best – and in some cases, only – chance to turn some heads.

Wide receiver Michael Moore had his share of highlights during his Georgia career – including six catches for 97 yards against Michigan State in the 2009 Capital One Bowl – but he didn't earn an invite to the combine. That hasn't stopped him from training for pro day, however. In fact, it made him work harder.

"Being someone who has been overlooked their whole life, it's not hard for me to get some extra motivation by not being invited to the combine," Moore said. "Everyone around UGA – teammates, coaches, and fans – know what I meant to the team and how I contributed. But, sometimes certain things don't fall your way, and that's what motivates me. I have to work that much harder than everyone else. I have to really put on a good showing at pro day and hopefully stir up some interest from the NFL scouts and coaches."

Other former Bulldogs participating today will include defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Kade Weston, safety Reshad Jones and cornerback Prince Miller.

One player who will be noticeably absent among Georgia's returning stars from last season is quarterback Joe Cox.

After waiting on the bench for four years to land the starting job, Cox said before last season began that he had no interest in putting himself under the microscope for scouts any more.

"As far as football goes, I don't have any aspirations to play another year after this," Cox said last fall. "I don't want to go somewhere and train and have everybody knock me about my size all over again."

A few of Cox's former teammates may wish they'd made similar decisions after workouts today – which begin around 10 a.m. with measurements and will also include bench presses, 40-yard sprints and shuttle drills among other workouts. Others, like Massaquoi and defensive tackle Corvey Irvin last season, may find that the workouts turned moderate to low interest from teams into plenty of pre-draft buzz.

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