The Combine is behind us, the Pro Days have been conducted, and the Wonderlichs have been licked. The 2018 NFL Draft is a mere ten days away.
And there’s a very good chance that multiple Georgia Bulldogs will hear their names called early in the festivities. Dan Kadar of SB Nation’s Mocking the Draft now projects a pair of ‘Dawgs to go in the first round. Roquan Smith gets slotted to go #19 overall to the Dallas Cowboys. Kadar thinks teams may shy away from Smith due to his measurables. There’s pretty strong precedent for this, as highly productive linebackers have often dropped come draft day based on pure physical numbers and a belief this correlates with "upside."
You can rarely go wrong counting on NFL personnel people outsmarting themselves. After all, they get paid to hoover up tons of data on each player, 80% of which is as useless as udders on a bull. It’s as if the further away they get from watching actual football the more they forget the point is to draft, you know, football players. Roquan the Punisher could well fall victim to this myopia.
On the other end of the scale is Isaiah Wynn, who Kadar now has sneaking into the first round at no. 32 to the Colts. Wynn’s ability to play literally any position on the offensive line is like catnip for NFL GMs trying to get the most out of a 53 man roster. SB Nation’s Chargers site even makes a compelling case for the Bolts to take Wynn with the 17th pick.
I would wager that’s higher than we’ll see. But Wynn’s versatility should mean that he’ll hear his name called fairly early.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has Sony Michel going early in the second round (34th overall to the Giants) and Lorenzo Carter not far behind (59th to the Chiefs).
No matter what, it’s a safe bet that more Georgia players will come off the board earlier than in any recent draft. That’s a testament to the excellent season the Red and Black put together in 2017, and to the development of players over the past couple of years. And it should make the 2018 draft must-see TV for ‘Dawg fans.