Georgia football coach Mark Richt doesn't see how this weekend's NFL draft could possibly hurt his program.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is widely expected to be the first player taken, and tailback Knowshon Moreno is targeted for the middle of the first round. Should the tandem get pegged as projected, Richt can add that to a recruiting pitch that includes two Southeastern Conference titles and six 10-win seasons since 2002.
"You can't deny this entire offseason and everybody talking about the draft," Richt said. "You can't hardly talk about the draft without talking about Matthew Stafford, and Knowshon Moreno for that matter. It's just positive publicity for your program.
"If a young man can visualize himself playing for Georgia and the benefit it would be to play within our system and how it would give him the opportunity to possibly be a first pick, that's only a positive."
Georgia has developed a productive pipeline to the pros and is the only school nationally with three eventual Super Bowl MVPs: Jake Scott, Terrell Davis and Hines Ward. Its 36 former players on opening-day NFL rosters last season trailed only Miami (44) and Florida State (37), yet top-five overall draft picks have been rare.
Stafford could join tailback Garrison Hearst, the No. 3 pick of the 1993 draft, as the only Georgia players in the last 55 years to go in the top five.
"I hope it's really quick," Stafford said of his impending draft experience.
The demands on Stafford have been significant the past three seasons but nothing compared to the past three months. Last Thursday alone, the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder was interviewed by CNBC, Fox News Channel and ESPN2, as well as an amusing plate-shattering appearance on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."
Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has checked in continually with Stafford since the Capital One Bowl and believes he's handled the process well.
"That's one of his positives," Bobo said. "People talk about pressure, but there was a lot of pressure on him playing here at the University of Georgia with the way they rank kids in recruiting. He was the top quarterback in some of those services and came in here and started as a freshman. He went through some struggles and then helped us turn this back around to where we finished No. 2 in the country and won 10 games this past year.
"There are a lot of five-star kids who go places and you never hear anything about, and for him to come here and succeed the way he did and get better every year - I think he'll do the same thing in the pros."
Stafford is expected to get drafted by the Detroit Lions, who own the No. 1 pick after becoming the first team in NFL history last season to go 0-16. Longtime ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper doesn't understand why that isn't already official.
Kiper pegged Stafford as a future top pick in 2006.
"I don't have inside information as to what Detroit is thinking," Kiper said. "Obviously they would like to have this guy signed before the draft if they can. To me, he would be the obvious pick. It's what they need. The decision on Stafford should have been made a long time ago if they were going to make him the No. 1 pick overall."
Richt just wants a long, wonderful career for Stafford, whether he's the first pick or not. He will be inviting some former Florida State and Georgia quarterbacks and their families over to his house this weekend for what he describes as an annual "Superstars" contest.
"The events are kind of corny, but they're things an old guy like me can do - darts, pool, horseshoes, bocce ball, things like that," Richt said. "We do that around the draft weekend, but we always make sure we take the time to watch these guys get drafted."