Related: Georgia sets school record with ninth player taken in 2021 NFL Draft
It would’ve been slightly better had Tyson Campbell or Azeez Ojulari joined Eric Stokes in the first round of the draft, but overall this was a very successful weekend for Smart and the Georgia program.
NFL evaluators think highly of Georgia offensive line, defensive backs
When it comes to recruiting and NFL development, the Bulldogs got some serious ammo when it comes to the offensive line and defensive back position.
Ben Cleveland and Trey Hill were both taken in this year’s NFL draft, giving Georgia five drafted offensive linemen in the past two drafts. That ties them with Michigan for the most NFL offensive linemen produced in that span.
If Justin Shaffer and Jamaree Salyer can have strong 2021 seasons, that pipeline will likely continue for Georgia. That should only continue to help Georgia’s offensive line recruiting.
As for the defensive backfield, four members of Georgia’s 2020 secondary heard their names called. Stokes and Campbell were taken within the first 33 picks of the draft.
The 2020-21 College Football Playoff teams were Notre Dame, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson. Those teams produced a total of 34 draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Georgia tied with Notre Dame for the third-most players produced with nine. Ohio State and Alabama both hit 10.
If you want to be in the College Football Playoff, you pretty clearly need to have NFL players on your roster. Over the past three draft cycles, Georgia has turned 23 players into NFL draft selections. Only Alabama, Ohio State and LSU have more in that span.
That should be a good sign for Georgia going forward, as the Bulldogs figure to have a strong crop of draft talent again next year. George Pickens, Jordan Davis and JT Daniels all could possibly go early in next year’s draft, while players such as Nakobe Dean and Salyer could rise up draft boards.
Related: Georgia and JT Daniels doubted by some, ‘Way-Too-Early’ mock draft suggests otherwise
Development doesn’t seem to be a problem at Georgia, even if Smart doesn’t hit on 5-star prospects at the rate rival fan bases seem to like.
This was the first draft class made up entirely of prospects recruited and developed by Smart.
The sixth-year head coach has clearly put his own distinctive mark on the Georgia program, and it’s one that NFL teams really seem to like.
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