Most of us prepare for a job interview by pressing our best looking suits, brushing our teeth, touching up our resume, and spending every free second posing random questions to ourselves in front of a mirror. For several Georgia Bulldogs and hundreds of other football players, the preparation was done on the gridiron in shoulder pads, helmets, cleats, shorts, and workout shirts. They've physically drained themselves, watched hours of their film, have tried perfecting their technique to impress the eyes bearing down upon them.
The Combine has come and passed, and now these prospective employees of the National Football League find themselves fretting much like we do after an interview as the 2013 Draft slowly approaches. They probably wonder, "how’d I interview? Did I have an impressive showing? What organization will get me…if any?" For some of these athletes, the last three or four years of college ball have been long auditions that they’ve fought and bled through in hopes of impressing an NFL team. Others might have come out of high school knowing that the next three years were only a formality so that they could rake in millions of dollars at the next level. And still some, having not been highly recruited or exposed in college, are hoping they made enough of an impact at the Combine to get noticed.
So here we sit, on the edge of Free Agency and nearly a month and a half until the Draft, with 11 Dawgs hoping to (essentially) get hired by a professional team. Some of them will get that million dollar contract that is so coveted amongst draftees and almost exclusively reserved for 1st Round picks. The rest will fall to later rounds where it’s on to the next challenge of just making the team, or enter free agency where they’ll be traveling salesmen.
Here’s my rundown of the 2013 Georgia Draft Class along with evaluations and insight into each pick:
Jarvis Jones – 6th – Cleveland: There have been rumors that some teams are shying away from the Sack Master because of his spinal injury nearly four years ago. However, I think these reports are a bold strategy employed by some organizations hoping he will fall to their slot. I don’t think the Browns fall for it, as they honestly can’t afford to. They desperately need an effective pass rusher to help get the defense off the field and disrupt QB play in the tough AFC North. Damontre Moore could go here but I think Jones is a better overall athlete, and too hard to pass up.
Alec Ogletree – 19th – New York Giants: The good news is that I don’t see Manti T’eo going any higher that Tree, so I think he’ll hold on to his spot as the top middle linebacker in the draft. The bad news is that he sort-of-kinda hurt his stock in the offseason. It’s no secret that he’s made poor choices off the field involving the law, and that he didn’t have quite the combine that we were hoping for. But still…talent’s talent. We saw that week after week in 2012, and I think that most teams had their minds made up about him after the first couple of films they saw. He’s a freak on the field plain and simple. Is he a top 10 pick anymore? Probably not. But a team like the Giants, who lost their only good backer Michael Boley in the offseason, won’t let him slip any further, and they’ll reap all kinds of rewards.
John Jenkins – 24th – Indianapolis: I think Jenkins had a better overall season in 2011, but that might have been due more to Kwame Geathers emergence as a decent Nose Tackle. He also spent a lot more time at defensive end after the injuries there. Is he the best tackle in the draft? No. However, the good thing about the draft is that there are generally a lot of defensive tackles picked very high, so I don’t see him having a problem sneaking into the 1st round. Indy needs some fresh meat on the line, and I think he’s athletic and strong enough to compete for immediate playing time. He adjusted very quickly from the JUCO level to playing in the toughest conference in football, and I think he’ll do the same at the next level.
Shawn Williams – 75th – New Orleans: Williams was one of the few Dawgs who really helped himself at the Combine. He showed great speed, strength, and ball skills, but appeared stiff and not as relaxed. I think that’s where the film helps him. Williams plays with reckless abandon when he’s flying around the field, and is great against the run. He could be more consistent in the passing game, but is a quick learner. I think he jumped up at least a whole round’s worth in his stock after impressing the scouts, and I’ve heard the Saints are looking hard at safeties. Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins aren't necessarily bad, but they’re not nearly as consistent as they should be against the run or pass. Harper might actually be on his way out of the Big Easy, and I’m not so sure Jenkins isn’t a better corner. I think they get their future starter in Williams.
Cornelious Washington – 64th – Jacksonville: There‘s no doubt in my mind that Washington is one of the hottest prospects that won’t be picked in the first couple of rounds. He had the best combine of any Georgia player, and has tremendous upside because of his ability to play either DE or OLB. The only question is, which position suits him better, and in what scheme? If you look at his sack production, you can’t really tell. He had 4 sacks as an end, and another 6 at linebacker. I’m thinking he’d make a better DE in a 4 linemen scheme, and rush linebacker in the 3-4. At any rate, the Jags need an athletic pass rusher of some sort, and they’re generally the team that makes a reach. I don’t think he’ll be considered a bust for them, but he might take time to develop.
Bacarri Rambo - 100th - Arizona: With the release Adrian Wilson today, this is all but assured for me. The Cardinals have too many other concerns on offense to use one of their top picks on a defensive player, but Rambo (like fellow safety Williams), is that kind of player who will work hard and earn playing time. He is sometimes slow to take off, but once he hits his stride and gets in a rhythm, he's one of the best there is. He could use a little more muscle and strength against the run, but he's a ballhawk with solid cover skills. Arizona will get a solid pick who will surprise.
Tavarres King - 101st- Cleveland: I know, two Dawgs in a row is a stretch, but let's face it. Cleveland always does, and apparently always will, have problems on offense. I think Colt McCoy got shafted after never getting a real shot. Brandon Wheedon definitely isn't the answer, so I think at some point in the draft, they're going to look for a quarterback. In the mean time, their receivers need help bad. Mohammed Massaquoi isn't healthy or consistent enough to be a starter, which I hate because he was one of my favorite Dawgs. Greg Little has all-star potential, but he had a lot of big drops too. Josh Gordon would have a big catch, then you'd never hear of him for a few weeks. King is fast, consistent, and smart enough to fight for playing time right away. If he can pack on some more muscle and get a little more physical, he could very well surprise.
Sanders Commings - 154th - Carolina: Commings has elite size for a corner, which makes me think he might fit better at safety. The Panthers need help bad all over the secondary. Their best player was Chris Gamble, who was let go in the offseason after a long career. Commings would seriously contribute, however, Carolina might take a DB a lot earlier in the draft. I like Commings as a college player, but I don't think he quite has the speed or skills to be a pro starter. I really hope he proves me wrong. Carolina is the place to do it since there will essentially be a wide open competition for starters.
Kwame Geathers - 246th - San Francisco: He could go higher, but I don't think Kwame possesses the athleticism or drive to significantly contribute in the pros. What he does have is size and strength. I think the defending NFC Champs will take him to provide some depth on the line as they don't really have a whole lot at tackle.
Abry Jones - Green Bay - I think if he hadn't gotten hurt, he could've had a stronger final season, and might've made a stronger impression on scouts. I think he's an average DE who works hard, but might get lost in the shuffle of similar players.
Marlon Brown - Baltimore - It'll be tough for him to make it in the pros after taking so long to develop in college, but if he works hard enough, he has the tools to do it. His greatest strength is his height, but he's also shown flashes of speed and good hands. If he can get as physical as his size could allow for, he could seriously compete for playing time. There's also the ACL injury that will need to recover. Can he do it?
Branden Smith - Atlanta - I don't see too much in the crystal ball for this guy. There's a lot of talent there, but his instincts and technique have never really synced. He's got the speed of a Cheetah, but was never really in position on defensive. Special teams are a possibility.
Thoughts? Any other predictions?