Avril on Lions QB Stafford: 'He can launch the ball'

SEATTLE -- If there's anyone on the Seahawks who understands Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, it's Cliff Avril.

Avril was drafted by the Lions in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. A year later, Stafford was picked. 

Avril said Wednesday he - and everyone else on the Lions - immediately recognized the quarterback's physical abilities. 

"He can launch the ball," Avril said at a Seahawks press conference. "I've seen that from day one."

But it's the way the quarterback has grown since Avril left the Lions in 2013 that has most-recently impressed the defensive end. His growth into a mature, calculated quarterback who knows how to harness his physical prowess is something to take note of, Avril said.  

"He's taken control of the offense," Avril said. "He's making plays veteran players should make." 

Avril isn't the only Seahawks player to take note of Stafford's abilities. On Wednesday, Bobby Wagner spoke with PFT Live, saying Stafford's running game has also blossomed in the past few years. 

"You know, he's very confident," Wagner told PFT Live. "Throws the ball really, really well. I think the thing that people sleep on the most is his running ability." 

Wagner went on to say the Hawks plan to guard against the run, especially since the 6'3" quarterback is not afraid to take a hit. 

"There's not too many quarterbacks who are going to lower the shoulder but we respect it, and we're ready for it," Wagner told PFT Live