Former Georgia quarterback and current Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford celebrates after the Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Iconic Georgia championship defense elevates NFL interest in where 57 Bulldogs rostered

Rarely has a collegiate football unit become so iconic as the 2021 Georgia football defense, the heroes of the Bulldogs’ first national championship since 1980.

The 2022 NFL Draft provided proof positive to its legitimacy, with a record five players selected off Kirby Smart’s elite defensive unit.

“There will not be a defense probably that epic (ever),” former UGA defensive coordinator Dan Lanning told CBS sports.

For that very reason, Georgia fans will follow the careers of the departing stars into the NFL like no group before them.

RELATED: Love/Hate on Georgia 2022 NFL Draft picks

The fact former Bulldogs’ quarterback Matthew Stafford emerged as the NFL’s story of the year last season by leading the L.A. Rams to a Super Bowl win caught the eye of most all of the Georgia fans.

RELATED: How Matthew Stafford led Rams to Super Bowl victory

And now there are 15 new NFL players from the Bulldogs program, eight coming off the defense, including a record five in the first run with No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker setting the pace.

There are 57 Georgia players on NFL rosters at the start of May, not counting Jayson Stanley who recently worked out for the Chicago Bears but has yet to make the roster.

Twenty-eight of the players are on offense, 25 are on defense and four are on special teams.

Thirty-eight of the 58 players were recruited by Kirby Smart, dating back to his first signing class in 2016, with the remaining 20 Mark Richt signees.

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Perhaps most amazingly, there are as many active linebackers (5) and receivers (4) signed in the Richt Recruiting Era (2015 or before) as have been signed by Smart since 2016.

Here’s a look at how the Georgia players are currently dispersed on NFL rosters:

Arizona Cardinals

WR A.J. Green

DL Jonathan Ledbetter

Atanta Falcons

OLB Lorenzo Carter

TE John FitzPatrick

OL Justin Shaffer

Baltimore Ravens

OL Ben Cleveland

LS Nick Moore

Buffalo Bills

RB James Cook

WR Isaiah McKenzie

Chicago Bears

LB Roquan Smith

Cincinnati Bengals

OL Lamont Gaillard

OL Trey Hill

RB Elijah Holyfield

Cleveland Browns

RB Nick Chubb

DB Richard LeCounte

WR Javon Wims

Denver Broncos

DB J.R. Reed

Detroit Lions

RB D’Andre Swift

Green Bay Packers

CB Eric Stokes

LB Quay Walker

DL Devonte Wyatt

Houston Texans

WR Chris Conley

LB Jordan Jenkins

Indianapolis Colts

PK Rodrigo Blankenship

TE Eli Wolf

Jacksonville Jags

DB Tyson Campbell

WR Terry Godwin

DE Travon Walker

Kansas City Chiefs

DB Deandre Baker

WR Mecole Hardman

DL Malik Herring

Las Vegas Raiders

RB Zamir White

Los Angeles Chargers

TE Tre’ McKitty

OL Jammere Salyer

DB Mark Webb

Los Angeles Rams

QB Matthew Stafford

DB Derion Kendrick

LB Leonard Floyd

Miami Dolphins

DL John Jenkins

OL Solomon Kindley

LB Channing Tindall

Minnesota Vikings

DB Lewis Cine

New England Patriots

OL David Andrews

OL Isiah Wynn

New York Giants

LB Tae Crowder

OLB Azeez Ojulari

OL Andrew Thomas

New York Jets

WR/TE Lawrence Cager

Philadelphia Eagles

DT Jordan Davis

LB Nakobe Dean

Pittsburgh Steelers

P Cameron Nizialek

WR George Pickens

San Francisco 49ers

TE Charlie Woerner

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

P Jake Camarda

Tennessee Titans

OL Ben Jones

LB Monty Rice

Washington Commanders

DL Tyler Clark

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