The greater Atlanta area is consistently beaming with talent, but this year, there is a giant pool of players from the University of Georgia that will likely be drafted. As the draft commences tonight (Thursday), it’s time to focus on what to expect from the local teams, and with Georgia Tech down a bit (to be nice), there is a “red and black” timbre to this weekend. Let’s go.
Day One (Round One)
- Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia – Ogletree is my pick for “best player” from the area heading into the draft. He’s a no-doubt first-round pick, and without some of his off-field baggage (there is a bunch), he’d be in the running for the top 10. At over 6-foot-2 and 242 pounds, he has exceptional speed (4.55 in the 40), range, and cover skills. I think he’s an NFL star if the off-field stays on the tracks.
- Jarvis Jones, OLB/DE, Georgia – Remember when he was #1 on Mel Kiper’s big board? I do, but Jones has slipped a bit. There is some medical concern (which he’s mostly overcome), but more importantly, there is some skepticism about how he’ll be deployed on the next level. He’s built (body-wise) like a 4-3 linebacker, but his skills are purely as a 3-4 OLB and he’s probably a pass-rush specialist in the league. I think he goes in the 1st round, but not until the back-half.
Day Two (Rounds Two and Three)
- John Jenkins, DT, Georgia – Jenkins weighs 340-350 pounds, and he’s a prototypical nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme. He’ll never be a pass-rusher, but he’s fantastic against the run, and it seems like he shed the “lazy” label during his final season. He’s not an option for 4-3 teams, but somebody will fall in love with him as their nose guy of the future, and I think he lands in round 2.
- Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia – I’m stretching a bit to get him into Round 3, but I like Rambo and I always have. He doesn’t do anything particularly well, but has no real weaknesses and he always seemed to be in the right place for UGA as he developed. ESPN has him 8th among safeties, and that’s about right for a mid-to-late 3rd-round pick.
Day Three (Rounds Four through Seven)
- Cornelius Washington, DE, Georgia – Almost snuck him into round three, but I’ll settle for high-end Round 4. Washington is a 4-3 defensive end who can get after the passer and he’s adequate against the run. If he was a bit bigger and/or had a more recognizable motor, he’d go higher, but this could be a high-upside pick for someone.
- JJ Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern – Georgia Southern makes an appearance! There are plenty of their grads around Atlanta, so here’s a shoutout. I’ve admittedly seen very little of Wilcox, but he’s a big-time athlete. He played offense for the majority of his college career, so he’s raw, but most places have him in the 4th/5th round.
- Sanders Commings, CB, Georgia – Good size for a corner (just over 6-feet), but limited speed (4.55 in the 40) describes Commings pretty well. He wasn’t a big play-maker at Georgia, but also didn’t get beat a ton, and he’ll likely be an NFL contributor. I like him in the 4th/5th round.
- Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia – Another massive defensive tackle from UGA, but he’s a step or two behind Jenkins. Geathers is even worse against the pass, and he’s not quite the run-dominant, double-teamed defensive tackle here. He’s got fantastic size (6’5, 340), so there’s a developmental track there, but he’s probably a 5th-rounder.
- Tavarres King, WR Georgia – If King was 2-3 inches taller, he’d probably be a day one or day two pick. He’s just over 6-feet and with that size, most NFL people look for elite speed which King doesn’t have at a 4.5 in the 40. With that said, King has good ball skills, he can block, and he’s physical, so if he can get himself open in the NFL, he could stick.
- Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech – Finally a Tech player! He’s got good size (over 5-foot-11) and speed (4.45 in the 40), but he’s graded out as “average” pretty much across the board when you look at the tape. Could stick in the league as a Nickel/Dime corner, but definitely not a look.
- Shawn Williams, S, Georgia – Williams is a fantastic box safety who is great against the run. He also has a ton of tape on him, however, and it seems like the NFL picked him apart a bit. I honestly think could go in the 3rd/4th round if someone fell in love with him, but I’m seeing 6th round projections. I do like Williams in the right system.
With 11 guys that I would consider “likely” to be drafted, it will be an eventful weekend for the state of Georgia. There aren’t a lot of things better than a young man’s reaction when they are selected to make the jump to the next level, and if nothing else, the Draft is where dreams can begin to come true. Stay tuned.