Georgia replaces both of its starting offensive tackles in 2023. Broderick Jones was a first-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Warren McClendon started 37 straight games for the Bulldogs over his college career. He was a fifth-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams.

For most teams, this would cause serious concern. Most teams though do not have Amarius Mims waiting in the wings.

Mims got some starting experience to end last season, stepping in for an injured McClendon in wins over Ohio State and TCU. Some players might be overwhelmed by the moment or opposing talent. But again, Mims is not your typical replacement.

At 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds, he’s among the most physically impressive players on Georgia’s team. Which is saying something given Georgia has one of the most physically imposing teams in the country.

Despite having holes at both tackle spots, Mims is likely to man the right tackle position. He did so this spring for Georgia, with Earnest Greene and Austin Blaske duking it out at the left tackle position. That position battle is expected to continue into the season.

The starting experience last season will no doubt help Mims as he enters a pivotal junior season. Georgia’s offensive line is expected to be one of the best position groups in the country, even after losing Jones and McClendon.

Mims’ potential for growth is a big reason why that’s the case.

“I feel like now I’ve just got to go out there and do what I’m capable of doing. Now the time has come,” Mims said this spring when speaking to reporters. “I feel like it’s time for my time. I feel like I can go out there. They’re depending on me, and I feel like I can do it.”

Mims could very well follow a path similar to Jones, even if he’s playing a different position than what Jones did last season. Jones got four starts during the 2021 season and played a key role in the 2022 National Championship Game. He went on to start every game for Georgia last season, developing into a first-round pick along the way.

Mims won’t be able to get to the 19 starts Jones had at the end of his third season in Athens, but Mims played a significant number of snaps for Georgia last season while rotating with McClendon and Jones. Having just two starts doesn’t do justice to how actually experienced Mims is entering the 2023 season.

Between Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, Penn State’s Olu Fashanu and Alabama’s JC Latham, it’s expected to be a strong year for offensive tackles in the 2024 NFL Draft. To that point, Mims was not one of the five offensive tackles listed in Jordan Reid’s most recent first-round mock draft for the 2024 NFL Draft. Part of that can be certainly chalked up due to the lack of exposure for Mims. Georgia fans know who he is but the rest of the country does not at this point.

But a strong 2023 season should change all of that. If Georgia is going to contend for the Joe Moore Award this season, Mims will be a significant reason why. There aren’t many tackles with his level of potential walking the face of the earth. He was a 5-star signee in the 2021 recruiting cycle, doubling as Georgia’s top-rated signee in a class that featured Brock Bowers, Kamari Lassiter and Javon Bullard.

“I just remember coming in as a freshman not knowing, like, what basic plays were to now fast forward two-and-a-half years later like I got the chance to do what they’re doing,” Mims said. “Really, for me it’s just seeing my progress, and I’m like, dang. Freshman year was around the corner, you know what I’m saying? I’ve got an opportunity in front of me, so it’s amazing.”

Mims has always dealt with the pressure of expectations. When you’re his size and possess that level of ability, it’s natural. Georgia is going to need Mims to play up to his potential in 2023 if the Bulldogs are going to win an unprecedented third-straight national title.

If he does that, Mims could very well find himself in the debate of who is the best offensive line prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. And Georgia will likely find itself in a similar position next season, as it tries to replace Mims.