Georgia captains Elijah Holyfield, Jonathan Ledbetter among UGA free-agent signees
ATHENS — The No. 13 uniform numbers of Elijah Holyfield and Jonathan Ledbetter didn’t play a role in them not being selected in the NFL draft, but luck does play a role in when and where players get picked.
Both Holyfield and Ledbetter were the ranked highest-rated players remaining at their positions, according to ESPN.
But the draft is often dictated by team’s needs and the depth at the positions, something the players cannot control.
Holyfield was a 1,000-yard rusher and Ledbetter one of the highest rated run defenders in the SEC, and both were recognized as team leaders.
Georgia football produced seven 2019 NFL Draft picks, but there are several other UGA players who can still fulfill their football dreams and make a league roster.
Indeed, Holyfield signed a free-agent deal with the Carolina Panthers with minutes of the conclusion of the draft, per the social media account of UGA running backs coach Dell McGee.
— Dell McGee (@DellMcGee) April 27, 2019
Ledbetter, meanwhile, has signed a free-agent deal with the Miami Dolphins, according to the Miami Herald.
Those were examples of why many have suggested that it’s actually better for players to sign free-agent deals with teams of preference than have to make a roster as a sixth- or seventh-round pick.
Receiver Jayson Stanley, a 6-foot-2, 207-pound with 4.37-second time in the 40-yard dash, has signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons, according to a family social media account.
Long snapper Nick Moore has signed with the New Orleans Saints, per a social media post. Moore was one of only two long snappers invited to the Senior Bowl.
Notre Dame grad-transfer Jay Hayes has a deal with the Steelers, per a social media report. Hayes appeared in 11 UGA games after starting 13 with Irish in 2017.
LB Natrez Patrick, a 6-3, 242 inside backer, has signed with the Los Angeles Rams, per his social media account.
Other Georgia players expected to sign free-agent deals are:
WR Ahkil Crumpton — Speedy wideout with good hands and return skills, teams will take note
OL Kendall Baker — 14 career starts for 6-foot-6, 305-pound lineman, senior season cut short by injury
LB Juwan Taylor — Sixth on the team with 52 tackles, Taylor plays well in space and in coverage.