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Post 2013 NFL Draft Day One: Georgia contributes to strong SEC showing

Friday April 26, 2013

The SEC had a record 12 players selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and Georgia had two of them:

  • LB Jarvis Jones: Selected with the 17th pick by Pittsburgh
  • LB Alec Ogletree: Selected with the 30th pick by St. Louis

Georgia’s first defensive players selected in the first round in eight years came as no surprise. Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree were the stars of a talented defense, and both were projected as high draft picks well before the 2012 season.

It might’ve been a mild surprise that both dropped into the bottom half of the round, but each had areas of concern. Jones is a little undersized, he didn’t test well during workouts, and there’s the longterm uncertainty over his neck injury. Ogletree had plenty of off-field issues from the suspension to the poorly-timed DUI leading up to the draft, and there’s a twinge of doubt about a converted safety thriving as an NFL middle linebacker. Still, those concerns pale against the obvious talent and production each of them showed at Georgia. They’re the best prospects at their positions, and each should expect to play right away.

For an organization so closely tied to its defensive identity and 3-4 scheme, Jarvis Jones had to leap off of the Pittsburgh draft board. Jones was drafted to replace James Harrison, a veteran Pro Bowl linebacker and team leader that was released earlier in the offseason. With Harrison’s role open, Jones has the opportunity to become as important to the Pittsburgh defense as Hines Ward was to the Steeler offense. Jones joins former Georgia punter Drew Butler in Pittsburgh.

Ogletree’s immediate future is a little less clear. The Rams might be set at middle linebacker with former Buckeye James Laurinaitis. Ogletree would be a big speed upgrade at the position, but it’s also possible that he could move to a weakside linebacker role in St. Louis’s 4-3 system. He’ll be the only Dawg in St. Louis.

Orson Crowded Out?

One of the picks with implications for a former Bulldog was Cincinnati’s selection of Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. Eifert was the top tight end on the board, but the Bengals already have Pro Bowl TE Jermaine Gresham and, of course, Orson Charles. The selection of Eifert doesn’t mean that Charles is on his way out; teams carry at least three tight ends. But with Gresham firmly established as the starter and a highly-paid first round pick coming in, it’s going to be a fight for Charles to remain on the roster, let alone find much playing time. Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wasn’t terribly reassuring. “Orson (Charles) was coming along, but we need another tight end.”

What’s Next

Round 2 kicks off Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with Round 3 to follow. The draft concludes on Saturday with Rounds 4-7 beginning at noon. Several other Georgia defenders, including John Jenkins and Cornelius Washington, could be selected on Friday evening before the end of the third round.

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