MOBILE, Ala. — Outgoing Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter was on the move Monday afternoon, hustling to his 4:30 meeting with Senior Bowl playbook in hand.
“I’m ready,” Ledbetter said, dashing off to the first of many NFL-related meetings during the league’s draft process.
Ledbetter, one of UGA’s four permanent captains this season, hopes to represent the Bulldogs well in Saturday’s game (2:30 p.m. NFL Network).
Ledbetter, along with long snapper Nick Moore, are UGA’s only representatives.
Outside linebacker D’Andre Walker pulled out on account of a nagging groin injury, and cornerback Deandre Baker declined his invitation.
Ledbetter, as much as any player at the Reese’s Senior Bowl this week, has a chance to improve his draft stock with strong performances in the South team’s practices under the direction of the San Francisco 49ers staff.
Jim Nagy, a former scout with the Seattle Seahawks who has assumed the role of Senior Bowl executive director, likes the passion and versatility Ledbetter offers.
“The upside to John Ledbetter is he loves football, … it jumped out last year when I was in Athens, watching that kid practice,” Nagy said. “He’s so combative, he plays hard, he jumped out on the practice field at Georgia — and Kirby and those guys really coach those guys hard, so it’s not like he’s at a place where there’s not good effort — and he still stood out.”
Ledbetter, voted co-winner of the Vince Dooley Defensive MVP team award after this season, hopes to jump out on the practice field again this week in south Alabama.
Some project Ledbetter as high as a fourth round pick, others as low as the sixth round or suggest free agency.
This week of Senior Bowl practice will be important as hundreds of NFL scouts, coaches and general managers get a hands-on look at Ledbetter running through one-on-one drill work, in addition to interviewing with teams.
“He’s versatile, I think he came into the year a little heavy, and then as the course of the year went on, mid-October, November, getting into the Florida game, some of those games he was really hard to block,” Nagy said. “A movable guy, he can play in any system, you can move him up or down the line, he has heavy hands, he plays hard, he chases, so I think he could fit with anyone.
“He’s a really interesting guy, too.”
Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy