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The best fit for Roquan Smith
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 next 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 for each player. Over the next few weeks, we’ll give you a Bulldogs-by-Bulldogs look at which NFL team is most likely to help each reach their full potential. We start with looking at inside linebacker Roquan Smith.
Roquan Smith, ILB
6-foot-1, 225 pounds, 20 years old
Projected: Round 1
Smith was certainly Georgia’s best player in 2017, and maybe its best player in a decade or more. Renowned for his ability to move laterally, the Butkus Award winner aggressively patrols the field from sideline-to-sideline, striking with quickness and purpose whenever he is in position to make a play, which is just about every snap for Smith. He was also one of the most adept linebackers in pass coverage in all of college football last season. Smith finished his junior season with 137 total tackles, 6 1/2 sacks, 11 1/2 tackles for a loss, 1 forced fumble and 2 passes defended.
The best fit: Oakland Raiders
The stars are aligning perfectly for Smith to land in Oakland. With the ninth (or 10th) overall pick, the Raiders figure to be one of the first teams picking that will be looking for an inside linebacker. Jon Gruden needs a rangy linebacker who can come up and stop the run as well as drop back in coverage to run his system. That just so happens to describe Smith to a tee. If NaVorro Bowman leaves in free agency, Smith could slot in as a starter from Day 1, and, considering his potential, he could hold on to that gig for a decade or more. Besides, Smith would look smooth as hell in silver and black. This fit is too perfect to not happen.
Next best fits: Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Redskins
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UGA hoops loses must-win game
In a stark turnaround from its two big wins last week, Georgia hoops fell to South Carolina 66-57 in Columbia. Turnovers and 3-pointers were the difference in the game. Georgia committed 17 turnovers to South Carolina’s 5 and made 6 3-pointers to South Carolina’s 13.
The loss drops the Dawgs to 15-12 on the season, 6-9 in the SEC, and pretty much erases any ground made up by wins over Florida and Tennessee last week. Georgia had an outside shot at making the NCAA Tournament coming in to Columbia, but most pundits believed it would need to go 3-1 — or maybe even 4-0 — over the final four games of the regular season in order to go dancing. Considering South Carolina was the weakest remaining team on the schedule, the team’s tourney hopes seem dashed, barring the most impressive three-game stretch in program history or a 2008-like miracle.
Which brings us to the obvious question: If Georgia doesn’t make the tournament, what happens to Mark Fox? We’re still a few weeks or more from getting a definitive answer, but I think it’s safe to that his future in Athens looks bleaker on Thursday than it did on Wednesday.
‘A final look’