Jamaree Salyer-San Diego Chargers-Georgia football
Former Georgia OL Jamaree Salyer has started most of his rookie season for The Los Angeles Chargers. He's in action here versus the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 11, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. (Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers)
Mike Nowak

L.A. Chargers coach: Kirby Smart’s advice to draft Jamaree Salyer saved playoff season

ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has become known best for winning championships and developing first-round players.

But it was the phone call he was on in the latter rounds of the 2022 Draft that proved pivotal for one NFL Playoff team.

WATCH: Jamaree Salyer provided advice for Georgia to repeat as champs in 2022

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley shared the important role Smart played in helping Jamaree Salyer get selected in last year’s draft after the UGA team captain had slid deep into the draft on account of his injury history.

“My favorite story from the last two years is we picked Jamaree Salyer in the sixth round, and he ends up like saving our season,” said Staley, whose franchise picked Salyer to played guard but ended up having to use him at offensive tackle on account of injuries.

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“I’d spoken at Kirby Smart’s clinic at Georgia last year, and they had a million guys coming out, (Smart) does a great job, and Jamaree is a guy we really loved in the draft process.”

But to Staley’s point, when an obviously talented and strong character player like Salyer keeps getting passed by, franchises wonder if there’s more going on with the prospect than they’re aware.

“(So) the rounds are going and there’s some stuff about some of his medical history and stuff like that, but we loved him as a player,” Staley said. “So it’s getting like the sixth round, I call Kirby Smart on the phone and I’m like, ‘Kirby we need to talk.’

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But the bigger value for prospects with NFL talent most often comes on the back end, when they are able to realize their professional aspirations after training against other elite NFL types with experienced and celebrated coaches.

Salyer, a player who didn’t start until his sophomore season, had the sort of season in Los Angeles that further enhances the Georgia brand, as he provided more evidence of the preparedness that Smart’s players bring to the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles vice president and GM Howie Rosenberg vouched for Smart and Georgia football last week at the NFL Combine, as well.

“The guys we get from that program understand how to work and they understand the expectations — it’s not just about playing well, it’s about trying to compete for championships,” said Roseman, whose Eagles did just that this season, winning 16 games before falling just short in the Super Bowl.

“They are being trained the right way at Georgia as football players and as people.”

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