ATHENS — The 2020 NFL Draft mock drafts have suggested one thing, but the 2019 game film says another where Lawrence Cager is concerned.
Cager, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound Georgia football receiver, had the misfortune of suffering a season-ending ankle injury last November that prevented him from working out at the NFL combine.
Cager planned to be ready to showcase his skills at Georgia Pro Day in March, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to its cancellation and wreaked havoc on the 2020 NFL Draft evaluation process.
NFL teams, however, have him of Cager appearing in 11 games — albeit, he was limited in a handful of them on account of recurring shoulder and rib injuries.
Cager finished with 33 catches for 476 yards and was the team’s leading receiver at the time of his season-ending injury.
“I know my ceiling in the NFL is high, (and) I know as much as I worked this year, I’ve got to work 10 times harder every year to be able to compete in the NFL,” Cager said at the NFL combine.
“I’ve always been a confident person, and I got my groove back this year.”
Cager is up to speed now and ready to go.
— Lawrence Cager (@lawrencecager3) April 8, 2020
Here are three things to know about Cager entering the 2020 NFL Draft:
Cager’s importance in the Georgia pass game last season can not be overstated.
Quarterback Jake Fromm completed more than 70-percent of his passes with Cager on the field last season, less than 50 percent without him.
Cager dealt with a rib and shoulder injury the second half of last season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in a Nov. 27 practice.
It was evident early that Cager was pivotal, as he had three third-down conversion catches in the first half of a game against South Carolina before leaving the game with an aggravated rib injury.
Without him in the second half,, UGA struggled, losing in overtime to the Gamecocks.
Cager secured a future slot in the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame in his only appearance in the rivalry game in Jacksonville.
Cager had 7 catches for 132 yards in the 24-17 win over the Gators, including a 52-yard touchdown catch.
“I was dead, I hadn’t practiced or played in like 2 1/2 weeks, so you got to rise from the dead sometime,” Cager said after his historic performance. “I wasn’t going to miss this game for anything.”
— Lawrence Cager (@lawrencecager3) October 28, 2019
Cager hasn’t played special teams at the collegiate level, but that’s an area he’s expected to be challenged to contribute at the NFL level.
“But big picture, where Cager is concerned at the next level, is going to be what he does on special teams,” Senior Bowl executive director and former NFL scout Jim Nagy told DawgNation.
“If you don’t project to be a top three receiver on an NFL team next year, and you’re a four or a five or a six, you’re going to have to play in the kicking game.”
Cager said he was never asked to play special teams at Georgia, but he’s willing to do whatever an NFL team asks.
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