Stafford and Atkins were recruited to Georgia the same year in 2006 and both players made an impact their freshman year -- Stafford as a starter and Atkins as a key reserve.
"From the day he got in there, the guy just had natural strength," Stafford said of Atkins.
"Early on in his career he had just awful technique, but he could lift all sorts of weight. You were like, 'How's this guy doing it?' He's just naturally a big strong guy. He's obviously putting in a ton of hard work. He's a smart kid. He's figuring it out and he's playing really well."
It kind of sounds like another defensive tackle Stafford gets to see every day in
In fact, Suh leads all defensive tackles with 32 total pressures. Atkins is second with 26 and Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy third with 24, according to ProFootballFocus.com
"Both of them have the potential to wreck games," Stafford said. "Both have quickness upfront and strength. They're a similar type player."
Atkins led all defensive tackles last year with 12.5 sacks and already has four this year.
"He's playing at a Pro Bowl level," Stafford said.
DICKERSON BRINGS SPEED
New tight end Dorin Dickerson isn't quite sure just yet where he fits into the Lions offensive plans.
That's really been the problem in all of his stops in the NFL, even dating back to his time at the the University of Pittsburgh.
What makes Dickerson intriguing is his physical tools. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds, had a vertical jump of 42 inches and his arms measured 34 inches at the NFL Combine in 2010.
In his senior year, he caught 45 passes for 508 yards and 10 touchdowns and was the first Pitt tight end to make first-team All-America since Mike Ditka in 1960.
But he's never really found his niche in the NFL.
He does bring tremendous speed to the table and Dickerson said he hopes that facet of his game helps him find a role in Detroit.
"Just speed," Dickerson when asked what his best trait was. "I've always been pretty fast, so I think my speed will help with matchups. We'll see as the weeks go by."
The NFL is a matchup league and Dickerson said he can play multiple roles, whether that's tight end, receiver or H-back, which he played some in Buffalo.
He is familiar with the Lions coaching staff having had them at the Senior Bowl in 2010 and is hoping that helps his transition as a mid-season roster addition.
Dickerson appeared in seven games for Houston in 2010 after they selected him in the seventh round. He grabbed nine catches for 117 yards in 11 games with Buffalo last year.
He's great athlete, teams just haven't be able to figure out a way to use him.
Can the Lions?
That's the word veteran Lions cornerback
"He's definitely one of the best we'll face," Mathis said.
Mathis called the third-year receiver "smooth" in and out of his breaks and very "fluid" as a pass catcher.
Green is good, the Lions know it, and they'll have to be very good in the backend of their defense to limit him.
Green (6-4, 207) is just one catch shy of 200 in 37 career games. He has 22 career touchdowns and has averaged 14.4 yards per catch since entering the league in 2011.
He has 464 yards on 37 catches this season and has scored four times.
"He catches the ball when it's thrown to him and he runs good routes and he has good speed," Mathis said. "He's a triple threat. You'll make it a long time in this league if you do those things well and he does."