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The 2018 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday night in Arlington, Texas, figures to be a historic one for Georgia football. Ten former Bulldogs worked out at the NFL Combine last month in Indianapolis. If all 10 are drafted, this will be the largest draft class in UGA history.
Since this figures to be the biggest NFL draft in the history of Georgia football, DawgNation will have you covered with everything you need to know as each Bulldogs player is taken off the board. But I figured we should begin with a quick look at the former Dawgs who are most likely to be drafted over the next three days.
Earlier this spring, I wrote a series breaking down which NFL team would be the best fit for each former Bulldogs player who attended the combine. So to get you ready for the first round Thursday night — which could be historic for Georgia in its own right — I’m linking back to each post in that series. So let’s take a quick look at the ideal fit for each of these former Dawgs.
Roquan Smith, Oakland Raiders — Jon Gruden needs a rangy linebacker who can drop back in coverage as well as he stops the run for his scheme, and Smith fits that description to a tee.
Isaiah Wynn, Atlanta Falcons — If picked by Atlanta, Wynn would step into an important role on a team that is just a few pieces away from returning to the Super Bowl.
Lorenzo Carter, Pittsburgh Steelers — Landing with the Steelers would give Carter plenty of opportunities to earn minutes and a chance to learn under defensive coordinator Kevin Butler, who’s coached outside linebackers such as James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
Sony Michel, Philadelphia Eagles — Doug Pederson has primarily run a committee of backs in Philly, an ideal scenario for Michel as it would give him a chance to show what he can do without being put under too much pressure.
Nick Chubb, Tennessee Titans — New Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said he wants to establish the run to open the pass at Tennessee, the same as he did in L.A. with Todd Gurley, and he’ll need a Gurley-esque workhorse to do it.
Trenton Thompson, Atlanta Falcons — Thompson still has some developing to do, and a spot on the Falcons could give him the chance to improve himself alongside one of the best young defenses in the league.
Javon Wims, Carolina Panthers — Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner runs a vertical offense and needs deep threats. And while Wims was never a true deep threat at UGA, his speed, size and hands give him the potential to be one.
Davin Bellamy, New England Patriots — One of the hangups on Bellamy is that he’s a tweener and might need to add some weight and become a defensive end. There isn’t a better organization in the NFL at developing players than the Patriots. If anyone can figure out the best spot for Bellamy and get the most out of him, it’s Bill Belichick.
Dominick Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers — Finding a spot on the Steelers defense is a boon for any player, as the organization has continually pumped out some of the best defenders in the league over the last two decades. Working with the Steelers coaches would give Sanders the best chance to iron out the flaws in his game.
John Atkins, Buffalo Bills — Buffalo is home to Cedric Thornton and Adolphus Washington, two of the worst defensive tackles in the league. Atkins needs a chance more than anything. In Buffalo, he’ll get one.
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Georgia adds key DT transfer, loses LB
It seems the Georgia football roster is in constant flux these days. Just this week, two Bulldogs announced their intentions to transfer out of the program, while a former Georgia opponent announced his plans to transfer into the program.
We’ll start with the transfer in defensive tackle Jay Hayes of Notre Dame. The 6-foot-3, 289-pound Hayes is a graduate transfer, meaning he’s eligible to play this season, however it will be his only season of eligibility in Athens. Hayes had 27 tackles and 3½ tackles for loss last season for Notre Dame, including a season-high 7 tackles in the game against Georgia.
Depth along the defensive line has been an issue raised by Kirby Smart all spring, and the move to bring in Hayes is an extremely proactive solution to that problem. Hayes isn’t just a body brought in to add depth. He’ll be one of the best defensive linemen on the team this season. Make no mistake, Georgia got better Wednesday.
Last season: @PFF graded Jonathan Ledbetter out at 81.0 overall. Jay Hayes graded out at 80.9, with Trenton Thompson grading out at 80.1.
Hayes had an 81.7 run defense grade, better than anyone on Georgia or Notre Dame's line last year. Jerry Tillery was next at 81.6. https://t.co/9rpMPCN4vr
— Kipp Adams (@KippLAdams) April 25, 2018
But numbers are tight with Georgia right up against the 85-scholarship limit. With Hayes joining the program, there has to be a counter-balance in the other direction. Guard Pat Allen announced his plans to transfer Tuesday and linebacker Jaleel Laguins did the same Wednesday.
Between the addition of Hayes and the losses of Allen and Laguins, Georgia is at 86 scholarships right now, assuming all signees from the recruiting Class of 2018 enroll this summer or fall. Which means there is still attrition on the horizon, whether that be through transfer, retirement or a signee’s failure to qualify. So be on the lookout for that over the next few months.
Georgia beats Tech … again
Georgia baseball (28-13) beat Georgia Tech 8-3 Wednesday night in Atlanta to clinch the season series with the Jackets. The Diamond Dogs currently hold a five-game winning streak against Tech dating to last season, the program’s longest winning streak over its in-state rival since 1985-87.
Tech got on the board with a run in the second inning and held 1-0 lead until the top of the fifth, when Tucker Maxwell hit a solo homer to right to tie the game. The Diamond Dogs took the lead with a 3-run sixth capped off by an RBI double from Maxwell.
Next up for Georgia is an SEC series with Tennessee beginning Friday night in Athens. The Diamond Dogs will attempt to claim their second consecutive season sweep of Tech on May 8, when the rivals square off in their annual contest at SunTrust Park.
Odds & ends
- 2018 NFL Draft preview: Nick Chubb, Sony Michel lead Georgia’s offensive class
- Sony Michel or Derrius Guice? FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt reveals pick before 2018 NFL Draft
- Alabama legacy Cortez Andrews says UGA ‘definitely’ gets an official after G-Day
- Nick Chubb explains viral jersey swap moment with Sony Michel on G-Day
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) April 25, 2018
— Philip D. VanHoozer (@DVanHoozer) April 25, 2018
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) April 25, 2018
Get it, Boujee.
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) April 24, 2018
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