Georgia proved it on the field and the Bulldogs’ success was rewarded Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Their defense, one of college football’s leading units of decades past, which allowed just 10.2 points per game, is now the first defense to produce five first-round picks in the NFL Draft.
“I, personally, definitely have to say that we will be remembered as the best defense in college football history,” Jaguars first overall pick Travon Walker told USA Today Sports before the game. big night. “From a college perspective, they’ll probably compare us to the Chicago Bears defense at the time.”
It’s hard to argue with Walker. The national championship-winning Bulldogs made history less than four months after bringing the SEC school its first title in 42 years.
Georgia had three first-round picks once, in 2018, when Roquan Smith (8), Isaiah Wynn (23), and Sony Michel (31) were chosen.
Walker, the first Georgia player to be selected first overall since quarterback Matthew Stafford in 2009, was followed by defensive tackle Jordan Davis. The Eagles moved up two spots, as part of a deal with the Texans, to pick the 13th lineman. The Packers selected inside linebacker Quay Walker 22nd and took defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt 28th. Safety Lewis Cline was the final pick in the first round, taken 32nd by the Vikings.
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“You say we chose Devonte Wyatt? Nooooo. Oh man, this is crazy,” Quay Walker told Packers reporters. “It’s a meeting. Shit, that’s crazy. I will probably cry again.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst added: “Where they come from is about as close to the National Football League as you can get.”
The fun in Athens, Georgia won’t stop Thursday night either. Wide receiver George Pickens and inside linebacker Najobe Dean, Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker and arguably the most valuable player in the dynamite defense, are expected to advance to the start of the second round on Friday night.
In total, Georgia should have 14 players selected. That would tie LSU and Ohio State, which had that many players drafted in 2020 and 2004, respectively.
“I think it’s very unique to have that kind of collection of talent,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said before the draft. “You don’t have that every year – it’s not every year you’re going to have 14 guys at the NFL combine. It’s hard to do and I’m proud of that group.
New York Post