Few programs did as well in the 2021 NFL Draft as the Georgia Bulldogs. Kirby Smart’s team had nine players taken in the draft, the most in school history.
Only Alabama and Ohio State had more taken, as those schools both put 10 players into the league in the 2021 NFL Draft.
As for some deeper thoughts on those picks, not everyone loved how high Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell went. They were the first two players off the board for Georgia, with Stokes going in the first round to Green Bay with the No. 29 pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars took Campbell with the No. 33 overall pick at the start of the second round.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. noted that he thought better cornerbacks were available when both players came off the board.
But there were other selections of Georgia players that earned praise.
The selection of Azeez Ojulari by the New York Giants is being praised as one of the best moves in the draft. Ojulari led the SEC in sacks last season but slid down the draft board due to concerns about his injury history.
Ojulari did not miss a game in each of his last two seasons at Georgia. The Atheltic’s Dane Brugler points out that if Ojulari can stay on the field, he can really be an impact player for the Giants defense.
“Ojulari fell in the draft, which was unfortunate for him but an astounding value for the Giants,” Brugler wrote. “At 20 years old, he offers the athleticism, length and instincts that should get him on the field early in his NFL career.”
Ojulari is the fifth Bulldog drafed by New York in the past four years. He’ll join Lorenzo Carter, Andrew Thomas and Tae Crowder. Thomas and Ojulari were roommates at Georgia, with the former being on-hand to witness Ojulari getting selected.
A later-round pick that also earned praise was Trey Hill landing with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hill did not come off the board until pick No. 190 in the sixth round.
But given Cincinnati’s offensive line concerns and Hill’s positional versatility, the former Georgia center could be an early contributor for the Bengals.
Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel spoke to some anonymous coaches who think Hill could be a great get for Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
“He’s going to have the flexibility to move to guard,” one coach told Thamel. “He’s got thick lower legs, a big backside and still has fast feet. He only gave up two QB pressures in 433 pass block snaps.”
Hill started 26 games for the Bulldogs, with 22 of them being at center.
As for the 2022 NFL Draft cycle, some early mock drafts have already dropped and two Bulldogs have emerged as consensus first-rounders. That would be quarterback JT Daniels and wide receiver George Pickens.
Daniels impressed in his final four starts of the 2020 season and seems poised to be one of the top passers in the sport. Unlike the 2021 draft class, there isn’t a can’t miss quarterback prospect, meaning Daniels really has a chance to shoot up draft boards.
Related: Georgia and JT Daniels doubted by some, ‘Way-Too-Early’ mock draft suggests otherwise
With Pickens, his talents are obviously well-known. The question will be how he heals from the ACL injury he suffered in March. It is unknown if Pickens will be able to play this fall for the Bulldogs, which would then put even greater importance on how he tests in the pre-draft process.
The next chance Daniels and the other 2021 Bulldogs will get to show what he can do won’t come until Sept. 4, when Georgia takes on Clemson in Charlotte.
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