Projecting who will replace Georgia football’s 2020 NFL Draftees

Georgia football-2020 NFL Draft-replacements
Jamaree Salyer figures to be a key piece of the Georgia offensive line in 2020.

The Georgia football program had seven players taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, tied for the fifth-most among all college football programs. That means that the Bulldogs have gone a pretty good job at developing talent for the next level.

But it also means the 2020 team has a number of holes to fill. Some at this point time seem fairly obvious, while others will likely play-out during preseason camp, whenever that might be held.

Left tackle Andrew Thomas, replacement: Jamaree Salyer

A week ago, the answer to who replaces Thomas would’ve been a different answer. Salyer would’ve been penciled in at right tackle, given he spent last season as the back-up at the position before slotting into the starting role against Baylor. It’s a spot we think he would’ve excelled at in the 2020 season.

Related: Andrew Thomas: Why he’s more than ready for New York’s big stage

But after Solomon Kindley came on Cover 4 Live and broke down what he thought Georgia’s starting 2020 offensive line would be, we’ve flipped Salyer to the left side. Because that is where Kindley had him.

Of all the talented offensive line recruits Smart has brought, Salyer is still the highest-ranked per the 247Sports Composite rankings. He had to wait his turn behind a couple of draft picks, but it’s clear now his time as come. While it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him at the right tackle spot, we think there’s a good chance Salyer is manning the left tackle spot once the 2020 season gets underway.

Right tackle Isaiah Wilson: Replacement: Warren McClendon

As mentioned above, we could certainly see Salyer here. We could also see 5-star offensive tackle Broderick Jones at either of the tackle spots. In a normal set of circumstances, maybe we do slide Jones in at one of the tackle spots, even with Smart directing those to look at the history of freshman offensive tackles in the SEC.

The problem with Jones and how quickly he might have to adjust to the next level is that he will have to put on weight once he arrives at Georgia, whenever that might be. He’s listed at just 285 on his 6-foot-6 frame. And given the disruption in the strength and conditioning program, it’s unknown if Jones will have enough time to make the gains he needs to for the 2020 opener against Virginia.

Related: Recent history shows it’s more likely Broderick Jones and Tate Ratledge redshirt than start

So we’ll slot in McClendon, who has been with the program and is someone that Kindley mentioned as a viable option at the right tackle spot. You could also go with Xavier Truss here as well.

Running back D’Andre Swift: Replacement: Zamir White

One player isn’t likely to replace all Swift did for the Georgia offense last season. But as for as being the lead running back for the program next year, White seems like the pretty obvious choice.

He served that role in the Sugar Bowl win over Baylor, as he gained 92 yards on 18 carries, while also scoring a touchdown for the Bulldogs.

White is now another year removed from his ACL injuries, which should allow him to continue to focus on making improvements to his game, and not just rehab. Except him to share the load with some combination of Kenny McIntosh, James Cook and Kendall Milton this fall as well.

Left guard Solomon Kindley: Replacement: Justin Shaffer

Of all the changes on the offensive line, this seems like the easiest to predict. When Kindley went down with an injury during the 2019 season, it was Shaffer who replaced him at the left guard spot.

We see the senior doing that on a full-time basis come the 2020 season. If Georgia wanted to, it could slide Warren Ericson in at center and push Trey Hill to one of the guard spots as well.

But Smart has spoken highly of Shaffer’s leadership skills and we think that’s another reason he’s going to see a lot of snaps at the left guard position.

Quarterback Jake Fromm: Replacement: Jamie Newman

This one feels the most obvious, given Newman had plenty of intriguing options elsewhere on the quarterback market before picking Georgia back in January.

Still, Smart isn’t going to just hand Newman the job.

“I don’t know that you’d have a number one to be honest with you,” Smart said. “Every kid we’ve ever had, they grad transferred in and competed for the job. He (Newman) knows that it’s a competition. He knows he’s has to beat guys out. That’s the way it has always been.

“I don’t ever look past and say that it’s this guys job. He just has the most game experience and that’s the advantage he has.”

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