UGA had three players selected in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft, and it looks like the Bulldogs have built some early momentum in having at least two players picked in the opening round of this year’s draft.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks released his Mock Draft 2.0, and he projected two UGA players in the top round.
The first one is no surprise – cornerback Deandre Baker. Pretty much every mock draft has Baker, this past season’s winner of the Jim Thorpe Award for being college football’s top defensive back, projected to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 26.
Here’s what Brooks wrote: “The Jim Thorpe award winner would immediately upgrade the Colts’ secondary. Speed is a question, but his instincts, awareness and takeaway skills make him a nice fit in the Colts’ scheme.”
Really the only mock-draft surprise with Baker so far … has been the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s NFL reporter, D. Orlando Ledbetter, projecting Baker to the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 14 overall pick. Ledbetter has deep connections to the Falcons, so that prediction certainly turned some hands.
The second UGA player by NFL.com? It’s Riley Ridley to the Oakland Raiders at the No. 27 pick. Wrote Brooks: “Gruden loves skilled route runners at receiver. Ridley is a crafty technician with a knack for getting open and making tough catches in traffic.”
Ridley has been in an upward trend lately in the mock drafts. Honestly, it’s a surprise to me. UGA has only had two receivers drafted in the first round in the last 50 years – A.J. Green (2011, Bengals) and Lindsay Scott (1982, Saints). It’s a surprise to me because I don’t remember Riley routinely making signature plays. He seemed to blow up for a few games, then disappear for a couple, etc.
However, in fairness to Ridley, he can’t throw the ball to himself. There were a lot of mouths for UGA quarterback Jake Fromm to feed when he dropped back to pass.
It certainly would nice for UGA’s reputation of developing NFL prospects if Ridley was drafted in the first round.
And who knows? With nine UGA players at this week’s NFL Combines, perhaps another one could do something to turned heads and move toward a first-round projection.
Thoughts? Please post below.