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Who has the most to prove at pro day?
NFL scouts, coaches and general managers have descended upon Athens for Georgia football’s pro day on Wednesday. It looks to be a can’t-miss event for NFL brass. Georgia has a giant crop of NFL draft prospects working out, 10 of whom also participated in the combine a few weeks ago.
When all is said and done, this could be the largest draft class in UGA football history, especially if some of the less-heralded Dawgs show out in drills. You can watch all your favorite former Dawgs work out live on the SEC Network starting at 10 a.m. ET.
So which former Dawgs have the most to prove at pro day? To get you ready for the action Wednesday, I’ve run down some of the players who can raise their draft stock with a good showing. Let’s get into it.
- Davin Bellamy, OLB — Bellamy, who figures to be a third-day pick, caught an unlucky break at the combine when a hamstring injury prevented him from participating in drills. So Wednesday will be his only opportunity to run and work out for scouts. Bellamy is a bit of tweener, and there’s debate whether he’ll play outside linebacker or defensive end on the next level. If he wants to play linebacker like he did in college, Bellamy needs to show scouts he has more speed and quickness than they think.
- Javon Wims, WR — Wims transferred to Georgia from a junior college, so he doesn’t have the benefit of four years of tape against SEC competition like a lot of the other guys in this class. Wims figures to be an early third-day pick, but he could catapult himself into the tail end of the second day if he can show off his body control and ability to dominate defenders along the sidelines.
- Jeb Blazevich, TE — Blazevich is one of the players who wasn’t invited to the combine and figures to sign as an undrafted free agent. The biggest knock on Blazevich is his receiving skills. But to be fair, Georgia has used its tight ends primarily as blockers the last few years and never asked him to do much catching. If he can come away more physically impressive than scouts believed and shows off some receiving skills, it might be enough to move him out of free agency and into the seventh round.
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Spring practice roundup
Spring practice had not even officially begun when Kirby Smart rolled out his slogan for the season: “Change is inevitable but growth is optional.” If it’s anything like the mantras of last season — “keep chopping” and “keep the main thing the main thing” — you’re going to hear it a lot of the coming weeks and months.
As hokey as the saying may be, it certainly rings true. The flip side of the potentially historic draft class is a lot of new faces on the roster and leadership roles up for grabs. Thus begins a new era for Georgia football.
“We got to work pretty quick after the national championship, and all those guys left and were training for the draft,” tight end Isaac Nauta said, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation. “So you kind of looked around and realized that there’s a whole new group of guys here. It was a pretty quick turnaround, and it felt weird, because you’ve been with guys for two years and now they’re gone just like that.”
New players and new leaders aren’t the only changes on the team. There are also new coaches and new roles for some old coaches. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will continue to call plays, but he’ll also coach tight ends. James Coley has been given the title co-offensive coordinator and will now coach quarterbacks. Newly-hired assistant Cortez Hankton will take Coley’s old gig coaching the wide receivers. Dan Lanning will coach the outside linebackers.
Perhaps the biggest change coaching-wise is the addition of a 10th assistant, special teams coordinator Scott Fountain, who worked as a consultant for the team last season. Last year, when only nine assistants were allowed per NCAA regulations, Shane Beamer split time between coaching tight ends and special teams. At practice Tuesday, Fountain was working with kickers and punters during the media viewing period. We’ll have to wait to see how this change will benefit the specialists.
In other news, linebacker Natrez Patrick was with the team and fully participating in practice. Smart said Deangelo Gibbs, who won’t be with the team this spring, is expected to make a “full return” to the program in the fall.
In injury news, 5-star early enrollee Zamir White is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered his senior season. Smart confirmed White will not be full-contact for spring practice, but will be working out. Reserve offensive linemen Justin Shaffer and Sean Fogarty will also miss the spring with knee injuries. Both are expected to be back for the season.
What’s the deal with Justin Fields?
All eyes were on 5-star QB Justin Fields in the first practice of the spring. Chip Towers of DawgNation asked some folks around the program to describe Fields and the word that kept coming up was “cannon.” That’s not a bad word to be associated with if you’re a quarterback.
Fields’ high school coach also gave DawgNation the skinny on what UGA fans can immediately expect from Fields.
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