What happened to Georgia’s NFL Draft prospects?

Brant Sanderlin/AJC
Georgia doesn't have as many NFL prospects this season as it's had in recent years.

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. In today’s edition, we try to nail down why Georgia has so few draft prospects this season and figure out which Georgia recruit was named one of the “47 reasons to love New York.” (Hint: He’s the one from New York.)

Georgia’s NFL Draft class sinking fast

The health and strength of a college football program can be measured partially by the number of its players that are drafted into the NFL. It is far from the only indicator of success, but common sense dictates that if you have a bunch of players on your team good enough to play in the NFL, you’re going to win a helluva lot of football games. But if we’re going to use players drafted as a barometer of success, Georgia is looking sick as a dog … pun, sort of, intended.

UGA’s 2017 draft class is shaping up to be the worst since only Arthur Lynch and Aaron Murray were drafted in 2014. It’s going to be the first time in three seasons Georgia hasn’t had a player taken in the first round. In the senior class, only Greg Pyke seems draftable, so the total number of players drafted will depend on how many of the few NFL-ready — or at least quasi-NFL-ready — prospects jump.

So, what gives? The one word answer is “attrition.” The more complicated answers involves exactly whom attrited. We can get a firmer grasp on this by looking at Georgia’s 2014 and 2013 recruiting classes — ranked 12th nationally by 247 — which should be the class supplying most of Georgia’s top draft prospects right now.

The 2013 class is where all the problems stemming from the Todd Grantham era surface and rear their ugly heads again. 2015 is the class of current seniors and redshirts juniors. Considering you want the bulk of players who log significant minutes to be redshirt sophomores or older, it’s no surprise Georgia has struggled so mightily the last two seasons.

Of the top 10 players who signed with UGA in 2013, according to 247, five transferred or left the program, one was a junior college signing and graduated two years ago, one was drafted early on Day 1 in the 2016 NFL Draft, one is a starter on the offensive line, one is a solid contributor who hasn’t lived up to his billing and one was a blue-chip quarterback who now punts. That is not what you want out of your 10 best players in a recruiting class.

To be fair, some of the lower-ranked players have been really good players for Georgia: John Atkins, Davin Bellamy and Reggie Carter to be exact. Bellamy and Atkins both have futures in the NFL, probably this year for Bellamy if he so chooses, but even with Leonard Floyd being a top-10 pick last season does this class come anywhere close to living up to its billing?


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