Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Drafting Dawgs

Friday April 21, 2006

I have to admit that this isn’t a particularly passionate topic for me. I’m only a halfhearted Falcons fan, and that’s only because they’re in my backyard and you can’t really escape that as a sports fan. My interest in the NFL is orders of magnitude less than my interest in college football, and I mostly try to keep up with how our Dawg alums are doing. It really only matters a tiny bit more to me whether NFL-bound Bulldogs go to Atlanta instead of Pittsburgh or Seattle.

Terence Moore tackles the issue in today’s AJC, and I can’t really disagree with the sentiment – such a legacy doesn’t seem accidental and is hard to overlook. But such hindsight makes for a pretty easy indictment that glosses over some of the issue.

Besides, why would you want to subject some good Dawgs to the trainwreck that has been Falcons football over the years?

The Falcons’ first obligation of course is to build a team with the best possible pieces, whether they went to Georgia, Florida, or Mount Union. I’d love to see more players from my high school at Georgia, but there are better players from other schools. Having a few high-profile Dawgs might help ticket sales and marketing, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the impact from a few elite NFL all-pros and a winning product.

Anyone who follows college recruiting knows how tough a job it is to identify talent and build a program. When Hines Ward left college, he was a special all-around player but a small, relatively inexperienced receiver with unspectacular stats. The decision to take him over Jammi German is an obvious no-brainer now, but in 1998 it was a question of Ward’s intangibles over German’s physical gifts, and it wasn’t as clear-cut then. Ward had to work very hard in his first few NFL seasons to improve as a professional receiver and earn a starting job. One might have expected Andre Hastings to have a stellar pro career after he left in 1992, but of course he didn’t. For every Dawg Moore identifies as a difference-maker, there is a Stinchcomb or a Sullivan who fizzled at the next level.

It’s no different for picks from any school. Moore wonders if a few more Georgia players might have prevented some of the really bad years in Falcon history (and there are many), but if there’s been a problem with the Falcons over the years, it’s been their shocklingly bad evaluation of talent from any school and much less some systemic policy to avoid Georgia players. If the Falcons had drafted Georgia players, you could be fairly certain they would have spent a high pick on someone like Bernard Williams.

So do I want to see Shockley or Blue or Jean-Gilles or anyone else get selected by the Falcons? Sure. Why not? I’ll get to see them every week. I’m not going to get bent out of shape about it though. The Falcons have much better front-office personnel now, and Rich McKay brought several Dawgs to Tampa Bay while he was GM there. The important thing from the Falcon perspective is that McKay and staff are competent, and any player drafted – Dawg or not – will at least make sense and address a need.

Comments are closed.