ATHENS — ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is not as high on Georgia players in the 2021 NFL Draft as others, based on his final 2021 “Big Board” and ranked the best 500 players by position.
To be fair, UGA’s first-round picks last season have been underwhelming. Isaiah Wilson has taken himself out of the NFL in less than a year, and there has been speculation the N.Y. Giants aren’t completely sold on Andrew Thomas’ long-term future at left tackle.
The good news for Georgia is that this year’s sure-fire first-round NFL offering, outside linebacker Azeez Ojuari, has a great character and work ethic to match his talents.
Still, Kiper isn’t as high on Ojulari as others in his recent paysite article on ESPN-Plus.
Indeed, many of the outgoing Bulldogs — all of whom had the opportunity to come back because of the COVID-19 provisions — are in their final anxious hours before learning their fate.
Are they projected as high as their family advisors and agents told them they would be if they came out?
Or are some having second thoughts? Perhaps now some are wondering if they could have returned for another year in the college ranks to be part of a championship team at Georgia in 2021 while increasing their NFL Draft stock.
The NFL teams are the big winners, as many of the Bulldogs’ players who came out prematurely will be draft-day steals.
Georgia could have as many as 10 or even 11 players selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, eclipsing the previous school mark of 8.
Kiper has only five UGA players among his Top 150 players, ranked irrespective of where they will be drafted:
• No. 36 Azeez Ojulari
• No. 64 Tyson Campbell
• No. 71 Eric Stokes
• No. 83 Ben Cleveland
• No. 108 Trey Hill
Here’s where Kiper has UGA players rated at their position the day before the start of the 2021 NFL Draft:
No. 7 Tre’ McKitty
No. 5 Ben Cleveland
No. 3 Trey Hill
No. 19 Malik Herring
No. 10 Monty Rice
No. 3 Azeez Ojulari
No. 6 Tyson Campbell
No. 9 Eric Stokes
No. 25 D.J. Daniel
No. 15 Richard LeCounte
No. 19 Mark Webb