ATHENS — Georgia’s winning edge in every game it plays will be the defensive front, and a conversation with Jim Nagy explained why.
Nagy is the executive director of the Senior Bowl and a former NFL scout with the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, and he knows what great talent looks like.
Certainly, he knows enough to start with Bulldogs’ nose tackle Jordan Davis when breaking down some of the players he’s eyeing up for Senior Bowl invitations.
“You don’t miss him; You turn on the tape he’s the first guy you see, great two-gapper, hard to move inside, disruptive,” Nagy said sharing the attributes Davis brings to the table when his weight is under control.
“He’s not one you can just hunker down at point at attack, he can also get upfield. He’s one of those guys we say you don’t grow on trees. High-end player, we’re excited about what he will be for Georgia.”
What Nagy sees right now in Davis is a “good building block, and that whole defense is going to pivot around him.”
Davis isn’t alone up front thanks to Devonte Wyatt’s decision to return for another season. Wyatt, recently nicknamed “pit bull” by a teammate, had a Senior Bowl invite last season but is back to chase a title and improve his stock.
“We have a lot of background with Devonte because we watched him for this year’s game,” Nagy explained.
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“Devonte is another guy with initial quickness, he can get up the field, he’s got size. Right now, it looks like it’s going to be another lean interior defensive line year, so Devonte will be in the mix, as well.”
That’s a nice way of saying Wyatt will be among the top defensive lineman selected in the NFL Draft if he’s able to take care of business on and off the field.
Georgia inside linebacker Quay Walker is expected to break into the mix and up his resume. Walker is still known best in college football for tossing a Tennessee hat during his signing ceremony, but his on-field exploits might soon overshadow that.
“We’re excited about Quay, a guy that technically wasn’t a full-time starter (last season), " Nagy said. “That speaks to the recruiting job Coach (Kirby) Smart and his staff have done. I know speaking with Glenn Schumann, he’s excited about that linebacker room.
“Quay has got all the measurables; he’s long, he can run, you see that on tape, he can run and hit.”
Of course, there might not be a more anticipated defensive player in the SEC than Adam Anderson, Smart’s “Frankenstein” of a player.
Anderson has been carefully developed over the course of his career and is finally primed for a breakout season that could produce All-American and first-round NFL Draft results.
Nagy laughed when asked how Anderson projects.
“He projects very easily, in terms of the position, he projects somewhere on the edge, he’s more than athletic enough to play sam linebacker in most schemes,” Nagy said, perhaps unaware that at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Anderson recently ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash that was faster than any of UGA’s current running backs.
“You turn on the tape, that first step ….He really has a pass rush arsenal, he can win with speed, he’s got speed to power, you see that a bunch, he can counter inside.
“He’s a really exciting guy to watch.”
Opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators might not agree.
Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy