Georgia head coach Kirby Smart during Georgia’s 2021 NFL Pro Day inside the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

What the 2021 NFL Draft first round taught us about Georgia football

The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft came and went on Thursday night. In all, 32 picks were made. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson went first and second to no shock.

A total of five quarterbacks went in the top 15. Of the 32 players taken, 12 of them played their football in the SEC, by far the most of any league.

Below are some of the takeaways from the first round of the draft and how the draft impacts the Georgia football program going forward.

Eric Stokes saves the day for Georgia football

Towards the end of the night, it felt like Georgia might get shut out of the first round. That would’ve been disastrous for a program that recruits and competes at the level Georgia does.

But with the 29th pick, the Green Bay Packers took Eric Stokes. The selection of Stokes makes it four-straight years a Bulldog has gone in the first round.

Related: Eric Stokes Green Bay Packers’ first-round pick, ‘feels like a dream’

The Covington, Ga., native will be keeping the power G on his helmet, he’ll just be wearing green and yellow as opposed to red and black.

It also makes it the second time in the past three seasons Georgia has had a cornerback taken in the first round, as Deandre Baker went to the New York Giants in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae will absolutely be able to use that on the recruiting trail, as the Bulldogs try and slow down some of the top receivers in the country. Georgia defensive analyst Will Muschamp also got to celebrate a first-round selection, as his former defensive back Jaycee Horn was taken in the first round.

It should be noted the Florida Gators also had multiple players taken in the first round, as Kyle Pitts was taken with the No. 4 overall pick and Kadarius Toney was taken at No. 20. Georgia has held a recruiting advantage over Florida but this does give the Gators some ammo on the recruiting trail. Especially for pass catchers, which the Bulldogs have not had a great track record of developing.

For all the gloom about comparing Georgia’s draft haul to that of Alabama and Florida, some of the other elite college football teams faired similarly on Thursday. Justin Fields was the only first-round pick for Ohio State, while LSU similarly had just one player taken in the first round.

Notre Dame, which has made the College Football Playoff in two of the past three seasons, had zero players taken. The entire Big 12 conference had zero first-round picks.

The NFL doesn’t always value what the top college football teams do and you can use some convincing evidence to point that from Thursday.

Two top Georgia prospects fall, should go early in second round

At the start of the day, Azeez Ojulari and Tyson Campbell seemed like the best Georgia bets to be taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Instead, both players will now be waiting to hear their names at the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.