ATHENS — Stats do not tell the full story when it comes to Georgia tight end John FitzPatrick. He caught only five passes for 55 yards last season for the Bulldogs during their 2021 season.
Part of that though can be chalked up to the fact that he had broken both of his feet during different parts of the 2021 season. Yet the fourth-year junior still played in every game.
“He probably needed surgery about halfway through the year. He chose not to have that surgery,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said of FitzPatrick. “He wanted to play out the year. He did that and did a really good job for us.”
FitzPatrick told DawgNation’s Mike Griffith that he came to Georgia to get his degree and win a National Championship. He accomplished both of those goals, which is why he is now hoping to be taken in the upcoming NFL draft.
If FitzPatrick is to make it at the next level, it will be because of his ability as a blocker. It’s something FitzPatrick excelled at during his time at Georgia. Even in a tight end room with Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington, FitzPatrick was still an integral part of the Georgia offense last season in part because of his versatility as a tight end.
While FitzPatrick wasn’t able to work out for teams at the combine or Georgia’s pro day, the hope was that he would be able to begin working out for teams in April. At 6-foot-7 and now 265 pounds, FitzPatrick certainly has the size that could impress some NFL team.
Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy reached out to see if FitzPatrick was healthy enough to play in the national all-star game this season and learned more about what the outgoing team captain was going through.
“Playing with two Jones fractures in your feet,” Nagy said, “he’s a pretty tough dude.”
Georgia has recent success getting tight ends drafted without significant pass receiving production.
Tre McKitty had only six receptions during the 2020 season, yet he went in the third round to the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2021 NFL Draft.
There’s also former Bulldog Charlie Woerner, someone FitzPatrick has been compared to during the draft process. Woerner caught just nine passes for 78 yards in his final year in Athens. He did not receive a combine invite, yet was still drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Because of his blocking and special teams ability, Woerner has found a home in the NFL, as he played in all 17 games for the 49ers last season.
“Teams mention that, and they’ve said they’ve seen similarities,” FitzPatrick said of the Woerner comparison. “It has been awesome having that role model. He took me under his wing a couple of years back, and it’s been exciting to be a part of that tight end legacy.”
The tight end legacy under Todd Hartley has been particularly strong, with FitzPatrick’s development only adding to it. In his final season at Georgia showed that he is a winning player and one who can find a way to contribute to a successful team. That should make him very attractive to NFL teams.
John FitzPatrick: Georgia football tight end hoping to follow the Charlie Woerner model in 2022 NFL Draft
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