Over the past week, many former University of Georgia football players made headlines as the 2019 National Football League organized team activities, or OTAs, came to a close.
Sony Michel undergoes knee procedure
The New England Patriots running back Sony Michel missed all of the offseason activities so far due to a minor procedure called a knee scope, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
Although the procedure was considered minor and Michel should be ready by training camp in late July, it is something worth monitoring due to his history with knee injuries. In high school, Michel tore his ACL and also struggled with his knee after the 2017 SEC Championship while at Georgia. When Michel turned pro, he dealt with a left knee strain and missed the first two games of the 2018 season with the Patriots.
When Michel did play, he was the focal point of the New England running game, carrying the ball 209 times in the regular season. The 24-year old broke the rookie postseason touchdown record with six and helped to bring home the Super Bowl for the Patriots.
Matthew Stafford learning new offense
Playing quarterback in the NFL is all about adjustments, and Matthew Stafford has spent a fair share of his 10 years as the Detroit Lions starting quarterback undergoing changes. 2019 is no different.
The Lions introduced Darrell Bevell as their new offensive coordinator at the end of an underwhelming 2018 season. Stafford had a disappointing season himself, totaling his lowest passing yards since 2010, a season in which he only played in three games.
Stafford is now on his fourth offensive coordinator and Bevell has brought in a completely new system for Stafford to learn. Bevell’s system is similar to a west coast style, which has an emphasis on the running game.
The Lions have been the worst rushing team in the NFL for two of the last three seasons, but Kerryon Johnson showed glimpses in 2018 and free agent addition C.J. Anderson is coming off of a productive season with the Super Bowl runner-up Los Angeles Rams. Pair that with an improving offensive line and the Stafford-Bevell offensive partnership looks like an encouraging prospect for the 2019 season.
Chris Conley turning heads
In his first four years with the Kansas City Chiefs, Chris Conley struggled to emerge as a go-to receiver for both Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes. Now with his move to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Conley is impressing coaches and teammates with his performances in OTAs and minicamp.
The Jaguars added quarterback and Conley's former teammate Nick Foles in free agency and the chemistry between the two will no doubt come in handy in the upcoming season. With the Jaguars starting receiver Marqise Lee coming off a torn ACL, all signs point to Conley playing a big role in the Jaguars offense.
In fact, ESPN writer Mike DiRocco said Conley could be "one of the best under-the-radar" free-agent pickups in 2019.