ATHENS — Day Three of the 2019 NFL Draft arrived Saturday with just two Georgia Bulldogs selected in the first three rounds.
The others are surely eagerly — perhaps nervously — awaiting hearing their names called..
All-American Deandre Baker went 30th overall in the first round to the New York Giants. World class-speed receiver and return man Mecole Hardman was selected 56th overall in the second round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Georgia fans and players now wonder, who’s next?
Here is where ESPN ranks UGA players remaining at their positions:
Riley Ridley — No. 1 remaining receiver, No. 5 overall
D’Andre Walker — No. 1 remaining outside linebacker, No. 9 overall
Jonathan Ledbetter — No. 7 remaining defensive end, No 71 overall
Lamont Gaillard — No. 1 remaining center, No. 85 overall
Isaac Nauta — No. 6 remaining tight end, No. 91 overall
Elijah Holyfield — No. 8 remaining tailback, No. 103 overall
Terry Godwin — No. 22 remaining receiver, No. 174 overall
Natrez Patrick — No. 23 remaining inside linebacker, No. 246 overall
Indeed, there are plenty of Bulldogs’ players left on the boards for rounds four through seven when the draft picks back up at noon (TV: NFL Network, ESPN, ABC).
Three of the four Georgia underclassman who declared early remain available, most notably receiver Riley Ridley.
Projected by some as a first round pick, Ridley ran a 4.58-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and declined to run again at the Bulldogs’ pro day.
It would appear NFL teams weren’t as comfortable with Ridley’s workout number as Ridley was — even though UGA’s leading receiver in 2018 has shown great route-running ability as well as blocking and the ability to make contested catches.
Less-than-stellar combine workouts could also be by tailback Elijah Holyfield and tight end Isaac Nauta remain available, too. Both Holyfield and Nauta have strong game film and have produced in college football’s best conference.
Walker would have surely been selected in the first three, if not two rounds, if not for sports hernia surgery on Jan. 23 that led to him being unable to workout at the NFL combine.
Godwin’s injuries before the season prevented him from having the sort of senior year many expected, and that could be what made teams hesitant to select him in the first three rounds.
Georgia might still tie or set the school record for most players taken in a single draft.
Coach Kirby Smart has shown he has a proven system that develops players ready to compete and succeed at the next level.
Bulldogs’ players not drafted can still make it into the NFL as free agents.
Signing as a free agent has its advantages as opposed to being drafted late. Players and their agents can choose the team where they see the best opportunity to compete, and increase their chances of making a roster.
Bulldogs’ long snapper Nick Moore is one who will likely be in that situation, as snappers — like most other specialists — are rarely drafted.