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Post 2010 NFL draft continues good – not great – trends for Georgia

Monday April 26, 2010

Congratulations to Georgia’s NFL Draft picks for 2010:

  • Rennie Curran: 3rd round (Tennessee)
  • Geno Atkins: 4th round (Cincinnati)
  • Reshad Jones: 5th round (Miami)
  • Jeff Owens: 7th round (Philadelphia)
  • Kade Weston: 7th round (New England)

Congratulations also to Michael Moore (Detroit), Prince Miller (Baltimore), and Bryan Evans (Cincinnati) who all signed free agent deals after the draft. Moore is excited to be teaming up with former Bulldog Matthew Stafford in Detroit, and at least one analyst is high on Bryan Evans’ chances with the Bengals.

Mark Richt has now had 51 players drafted in 9 NFL drafts. He’s had as many as 8 and as few as 4 taken in a single year. There have been 8 first-round picks and 24 players selected in the first 3 rounds. Those are impressive totals, but do they smooth over more recent problems?

In 2008 we pointed out how the draft was much kinder to Richt’s players through 2005. Bulldogs were still being drafted, but the balance had shifted from the earlier rounds to the later rounds. From 2002-2005, Georgia had 14 players selected in the first three rounds. From 2006-2008, that number dropped to 4. The stellar class of 2009 alone eclipsed that number with 5 of Georgia’s 6 draftees coming in the first three rounds.

The 2010 draft looked more like those 2006-2008 years. Georgia still had a respectable 5 players selected, but only one came in the first three rounds.

It’s not a surprise that somewhat tepid draft results have come during some tumultuous seasons in Athens. With the exception of 2007, the program hasn’t measured up to what it was through 2005. And, with the exception of the 2009 draft, the Bulldogs have landed in fewer of the valuable high round selections.

The future isn’t bleak – Georgia will likely have a couple of higher round selections in 2011, especially if A.J. Green decides to come out. A year or two of sub-par draft results doesn’t necessarily reflect on the talent or coaching going on – you might just have a young team or low numbers of draft-eligible players in a given year. But over 4 or 5 years, the trend becomes a little more alarming.

The question of talent or coaching was beaten to death as we suffered through the disappointing 2009 season, but it’s unavoidable when talking about draft picks. Through 2008, defense dominated Georgia’s first and second round picks (8 defenders vs. 4 from the offense). That’s changing – Georgia’s three highest picks from the 2009 draft played on offense, and Georgia’s best prospects for 2011 – at this point – are Boling and Green. After having eight defensive players taken second round or better through 2006, Georgia hasn’t had one since Tim Jennings was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.

You might see that as justification for changing the defensive staff. After all, several of the players in the meantime were highly rated prospects. Rashad Jones carried the mythical five stars, and others weren’t far behind. It’s not that Georgia’s had chopped liver for defensive talent – all five players taken in 2010 were from the defense, and several defensive players drafted since 2006 (Howard, Chas. Johnson, Moses, and now possibly Curran) have all been good, productive selections. Having three defensive tackles taken in a single draft is a big deal regardless of the rounds. The defense should have been better than it was.

But there is still a question, regardless of coaching, whether Georgia is still getting the kind of defensive talent that it did 5+ years ago. There are signs of life across the board – Houston, Rambo, several of the corners – and a lot of promising young players. Perhaps the new defensive staff can make the difference in these guys being higher round picks with guaranteed money and a likely spot on the team versus lower round picks who will find themselves in fierce competition for roster slots. Successful teams in the SEC consistently have those elite defenders, and Georgia used to.

2 Responses to '2010 NFL draft continues good – not great – trends for Georgia'

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  • Richt had a great 1-2 punch of Stafford/Moreno and will so with Green but outside of that, he has struck out with elite talent going very high.

    Talent is much less than when he first arrived

  • georgia has the players, the players has to live up to the potentional. I hope caleb king and the others can play like they are hungry.