If this season turns out to be a disappointment – and I’m not claiming that it is at this point – I don’t see how the post-mortem avoids pointing in a certain direction.
Georgia has yet to produce three first-round picks in the same draft, but one NFL scouting director believes that stat will be short-lived.
“Ogletree may be the best linebacker in the conference from an athletic standpoint and everything he can do on the field,” the scout said, “and Jones is probably the best pass-rusher from a linebacker position in the conference. Jenkins doesn’t make a lot of plays, but he’s 360 pounds.
“Jenkins is a first-rounder on size alone, and you look at the way the league is going with 3-4 defenses. Those guys get drafted, because there aren’t a bunch of them.”
Senior safety Shawn Williams has appeared on some first-round mock drafts and is “the toughest of that bunch” according to the scout but may land in the second round. There will be more. Many more.
“They’ve got a defensive line there that’s NFL caliber with Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Abry Jones and Corneluis Washington,” the scout said, “and then you go to the back end where you’re looking at two safeties who are going to play in the league with Williams and Bacarri Rambo. There is talent all over that place.”
At least eight Georgia defenders could go in the draft, and eight is the most total selections the program has provided in any previous draft. That was in 2002.
That’s a lot of talent to be ranked thirty-third in total defense, especially with five SEC teams ranked in the top twenty. But the good news is that the talent looks like its rounding into shape.
Georgia’s defense somehow managed to hold Florida and Ole Miss to 165 fewer combined yards than the Bulldogs yielded against Buffalo and Florida Atlantic. The Bulldogs were not at full strength earlier in the year, when Ogletree and Rambo were suspended for the season’s first four games, but they are certainly dominating at the right time.
There’s still plenty left to play for, so this may well turn out to be a happy case of better late than never.