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The best fit for John Atkins
The 2018 NFL Draft figures to be a historic one for Georgia football. Ten former Bulldogs are invited to work out at the NFL combine this week in Indianapolis. If all 10 are drafted, it would be the largest draft class in UGA history.
During draft season, a lot of folks try to figure out which players are the best fits for each team. But we’re taking the opposite approach and figuring out which team is the best fit for each player. Over the next week or so, we’ll give you a Bulldogs-by-Bulldogs look at which NFL team is most likely to help each reach their full potential. Here’s a look at defensive tackle John Atkins.
John Atkins, DT
6-foot-4, 305 pounds
Projected: Rounds 6-7
Atkins was never a star in Athens. He played his role at Georgia, and he played it well. That’s pretty much what scouts are expecting him to do at the pro level.
Atkins’ greatest asset is his ability to eat space between the guards and make tackles along the interior line, but he needs to work on pretty much every other facet of his game. He’s not a good pass-rusher or even a good run-stopper when the ball goes outside the guards. He lacks lateral quickness, which isn’t always a deal-breaker for a nose tackle. Unfortunately for Atkins, he lacks the width and mass of a typical NFL nose and also lacks the speed and quickness to make up for it. Heading into the combine, his upside appears to be as a rotation player on a defensive line, which means he’ll probably come off the board in the sixth or seventh rounds.
Best fit: Buffalo Bills
All that means that Atkins will have a lot of doubters to prove wrong. If he’s going to do that, he’ll need to land on a team that is desperate for defensive tackles where he’ll get plenty of looks. The Bills fit the, well, bill. Marcell Dareus is gone. Kyle Williams might be too, and his time in the NFL is drawing to a close in the next few years regardless. If he stays, he’d be a good role model for Atkins, as he too isn’t as wide as a typical NFL nose. Behind Williams are Cedric Thornton and Adolphus Washington, two of the worst defensive tackles in the league. Atkins needs a chance more than anything. Buffalo is his best chance to get one.
Next best fits: New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks
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Yante Maten ends Stegeman Coliseum career on a sour note
Georgia hoops’ final home game of the season ended in heartbreaking fashion as missed free throws, turnovers and an inexplicable final sequence helped Texas A&M nab a 61-60 comeback win at Stegeman Coliseum. With the loss, Georgia moves to 16-13 on the season, ending the slim chance it had to make the NCAA Tournament, barring winning the SEC Tournament in St. Louis.
What stings most about the loss is that it came in Yante Maten’s final game in Athens. He was fantastic on senior night, putting up a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, and he fought every bit as hard, if not harder, as he ever has to end his time in Athens on a high. He’ll finish his UGA career as the second-leading scorer in program history and among the top-five in career rebounds. However you measure, he’s one of the best players in program history, and it’s a damn shame he’ll end his time at Georgia with only a single trip to March Madness.
Which brings us to Mark Fox. There’s plenty Fox did wrong this season and in this game that will fit neatly into any argument made in favor of running him out of town. (We can start with the mind-boggling decision to not use one of three timeouts to set up a play on the final possession against A&M.) But, honestly, the fact that he didn’t put enough pieces around Maten, or J.J. Frazier for that matter, to make it to multiple NCAA Tournaments over the past five years is enough for me.
But we can get into all that after the SEC Tournament if and when a decision does come down on Fox’s future. Instead, let’s take this moment to be thankful for the four years we got to watch Maten play in Athens. And even if there’s almost no chance left to go dancing, you should tune in to the final games just so you can appreciate Maten in his final games wearing the red and black. Yante Maten, DGD.
Question of the day
Seth Emerson of DawgNation tackled a question about what will be the most surprising unit on the Georgia football team next season. His answer: quarterback. And he had an interesting take on why the QBs are set to surprise folks.
Jake Fromm was pretty good as a freshman and should be better as a sophomore. Or he’ll be beaten out by Justin Fields, and if he does so, it won’t be because Fromm didn’t work hard in the offseason. Fromm or Fields will have experienced and talented receivers to throw to – including Isaac Nauta, Swift and other tailbacks. If the team doesn’t establish that solid group behind Swift, it might rely more on the passing game. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney knows that going into the season, and although the overall philosophy of Georgia football is to run the ball, they’ll spend the offseason gearing more around the passing game.
That’s all just a guess. And again, ask me about this one more time after I’ve had a chance to take in spring practice. But for now, I’d be pretty optimistic about Georgia’s ability to pass the ball and, dare I say, we could see some Aaron Murray-like numbers coming out of Fromm in 2018.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) March 1, 2018
Yet another EPIC BATTLE.
a dog and rabbit playing together pic.twitter.com/dXcLdJsjsF
— Nature is Amazing 🌿 (@AMAZlNGNATURE) February 27, 2018
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