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Georgia football winners and losers following 2021 NFL Draft

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Georgia football winners and losers following 2021 NFL Draft

Winner: Georgia’s 2017 recruiting class

The 2017 recruiting class was the first one where Kirby Smart was able to have a full recruiting cycle to identify and recruit prospects. In all, Georgia signed 25 players in the class.

So far, eight of those players have been drafted. Three in the first round, with Eric Stokes joining them on Thursday. Add in major contributors like D’Andre Swift, Monty Rice and Jake Fromm and this first group fits the bill of special.

This class played a huge role in Georgia setting a school-record for most players taken in a single draft.

“That group is special to me, because they’ve all come at different times, but they’re all leaving together,” Smart said. “They’re all ours. I’m proud of them

A number of players in the class are still in school and could thus add to this total next season. Justin Shaffer and Ameer Speed stand out as players who have the opportunity to be drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft.

This class is an unequivocal success for Smart. While it doesn’t have the number of first-rounders that Alabama did, this class went a long way in elevating the Georgia program.

Related: Georgia and JT Daniels doubted by some, ‘Way-Too-Early’ mock draft suggests otherwise

Rival fan bases have been fond of pointing out that Smart doesn’t properly develop talent.

The 2021 draft class, dispels some of that notion. Georgia is still able to churn out an elite crop of draft prospects and that only figures to continue as Smart puts more fingerprints on this program.

Winner: Todd Hartley

In back-to-back drafts, the Bulldogs have had a tight end taken. Charlie Woerner went in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. This weekend, the Los Angeles Chargers took Tre’ McKitty in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

What makes the selections of Woerner and McKitty noteworthy is they did it without much production at Georgia.

Woerner caught just nine passes for 78 yards as a senior. McKitty had only six catches for 108 in his lone season for the Bulldogs. For that kind of production to merit getting drafted says something about the coaching they’ve received at Georgia.

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