As part of Hogs Haven’s pre-draft coverage, I am going to preview one team per week throughout the college football season. One of the biggest games this weekend will be when Georgia and Florida get together in Jacksonville for The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
If you liked watching Alabama in 2009 (Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Greg McElroy, Mark Barron, Rolando McClain, Marcell Dareus), you’ll be very happy watching Georgia in 2019.
Recently, Georgia has become recruiting powerhouse, but maintained there roots as a run-heavy offense. Combined with their 3-4 defense, and game management at quarterback, they have essentially filled the void left when Alabama transitioned to more of a spread offense and a base nickel defense.
The Georgia offensive line is certainly one of the top-five in all of college football but in terms’ of draft prospects it might be number one. Additionally, they have my RB1, a QB that many really like, and draftable defenders on all three levels.
Here are some of the Bulldogs that Redskins’ fans should pay attention to.
POTENTIAL FIRST ROUND PROSPECTS
#71 Andrew Thomas (Jr.) LT/RT 6-5 320.
Thomas came to Georgia as a high recruited HS prospect (4 and 5 stars). In 2017, he was named to several Freshman All-America Teams (ESPN, USA Today and the Football Writers Association of America ) after making 15 starts as a true freshman at right tackle.
Thomas then replaced former first rounder Isaiah Wynn at LT in 2018, where he has started every game (20 and counting) the past two seasons.
WalterFootball shares what NFL scouts have told them. “Across the board, scouts say that Thomas is better than Jonah Williams, the first offensive lineman taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. They feel that Thomas is more comparable to Laremy Tunsil coming out of Ole Miss in 2016 and feel that Thomas is a better prospect than Ronnie Stanley, who went in that same draft. Some feel that Thomas needs some technical work, but they also feel he is a better player with a better skill set than Stanley. Some say Thomas is not quite as athletic as Tunsil, but Thomas is stronger and more consistent than Tunsil was at Ole Miss. Every team sources felt that Thomas was a future top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and a franchise tackle who could play on the right or left side.”
I agree, and feel Thomas will likely be competing with Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young to be the first non-quarterback selected this upcoming draft. Thomas has great size for the position, with long arms. An excellent athlete, Georgia coaches told Ross Tucker that including practice and games, they have only seen him lose 1 v 1 twice twice since he arrived on campus. Per Dawg Nation, Thomas has yet to give up a sack this season, and has surrendered just one in his UGA career (last season, LSU).
Given positional scarcity, we could see a trade up in order to select him.
#7 D’Andre Swift (Jr.) RB 5-9 215.
Swift came to Athens as a 4-star HS prospect, then quickly lived up to his name. While he was behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel as a freshman, and shared carries with Elijah Holyfield as a sophomore, he continued to flash elite ability. Known for his “dead leg” shutter step, he consistently makes defenders miss between the tackles and in the open field.
Over his first two seasons, he only received six starts, with less than 300 total touches (244 carries and 49 catches). This season, Swift’s current 6.83 yards per carry is on pace to break Todd Gurley’s school record of 6.44 ypc.
To me, Swift is the top running back potentially available for the 2020 NFL Draft. He has speed, power, vision, and excellent hands to be one of the top backs in the NFL.
POSSIBLE DAY TWO (ROUNDS 2-3) PROSPECTS
#11 Jake Fromm (Jr.) QB 6-2 220
ESPN’s College GameDay did a somewhat comical, but telling story on Fromm as part of their pregame before the Notre Dame game.
With off the charts intangibles, there could be multiple NFL teams vying for his services, but I may be one of the few with remaining doubts.
I was hoping to watch Georgia’s upset loss to South Carolina prior to writing this piece, but here is what Pat Forte had to say about Fromm: “When Georgia’s Jake Fromm was pressured in the second quarter Saturday against South Carolina, he kept retreating and threw the ball off his back foot, serving up a pick-six interception — a huge play in a huge Gamecocks upset.”
I have never been a big fan of Fromm, and have written that I consider both Jacob Eason and Justin Fields as better pro prospects (each were beaten out by Fromm before transferring from Georgia). I graded him as a Rd2 prospect over the summer, but acknowledge the NFL may indeed be higher on him. His physical traits are similar to Teddy Bridgewater.
#79 Isaiah Wilson (rSo.) RT 6-7 340.
A 5-star HS recruit, who was ranked as highly as the #2 OT prospect, Wilson broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2018, where he has remained.
According to Walter Football, “Team sources say that if Wilson develops, he definitely has first-round potential given his size and skill set. If he were to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, some scouts thought Wilson might go late in the first round or be a second-day pick.”
Draft analyst, Tony Pauline noted how much better the Georgia offense looked after Wilson entered the Notre Dame game (he didn’t start due to injury).
While Andrew Thomas is as solid as it comes on the left side, Florida leads the SEC in sacks (29) and will likely test Wilson on the right side.
#66 Solomon Kindley (rJr.) LG/RG 6-4 335.
Kindley has starting experience at both LG and RG.
According to Walter Football, “multiple sources thought left guard Solomon Kindley could be a late first- or early second-round pick. Some feel that Kindley needs to lose some weight, but everybody liked his ability, with some evaluators thinking Kindley could be a plug-and-play starter after getting drafted.”
#24 Eric Stokes (rSo.) CB 6-1 185.
Stokes became the team’s starting corner toward the end of the 2018 season. He is a height/weight/speed prospect who shows inconsistency on film. His traits will likely make him a coveted prospect, who could potentially declare with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
A former HS track star, in his junior year, he won the Class AAAA championship in the 100 meters (10.39 seconds) and the 200 (21.58 seconds).
#2 Richard LeCounte III (Jr.) FS 5-11 190.
A smoother athlete with better range than his teammate JR Reed, I like LeCounte’s upside slightly more than the more established veteran.
LIKELY DAY THREE (ROUNDS 4-7) PROSPECTS
#20 J. R. Reed (rSr.) SS/FS 6-1 194.
Recently, Reed was announced as one of 13 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe award. Reed leads the UGA secondary with 34 total tackles and he has added a pair of tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and one interception.
Originally enrolled at Tulsa, he transferred to Georgia in August of 2016. Going into the Florida game, Reed has started 36 straight games for the Bulldogs since the start of the 2017 season. Reed has experience at both the field and boundary Safety positions in Georgia’s defense. For his career, he has piled up 179 total tackles, including nine tackles for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, five interceptions, and three fumble recovers.
Well liked by many in the draft media, Tony Pauline gave him a 3rd round grade last summer and was Dane Brugler’s 4th ranked senior safety. Per Pro Football Focus, he was the highest graded returning Bulldog from either side of the ball.
He has NFL bloodlines, as his father, Jake Reed (WR) and uncle, Dale Carter (CB) each played 12 years in the NFL.
Despite a pretty impressive resume, Ex-Georgia safety Dominick Sanders went undrafted in 2018, and I wonder if Reed could suffer the same fate. There have been some who question his range and overall athleticism. While this shouldn’t necessarily be a red-flag, he turned down an opportunity to enter the 2019 NFL draft despite the fact that he graduated in Dec 2018, and Reed will be a over-aged 25 year old rookie (born March 11, 1995) in the NFL. Personally, I have him as a 4th round prospect with the potential to grade as a top-100 pick if he tests well.
#16 Demetris Robertson (rJr.) WR 6-0 190.
A five-star prospect from 247 Sports, Rivals, and Scout, Robinson was rated the nation’s #1 HS WR for each. Robinson originally went to Cal Berkeley, and in 2016 broke Cal freshman records previously held by DeSean Jackson for receiving yards and Keenan Allen for receptions.
Robinson started each of the first two games in 2017 before suffering a torn ACL. He then transferred from Cal to Georgia in July of 2018 and was granted immediate eligibility, but played behind veteran receivers Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley, and Terry Godwin.
Robinson has experience as an outside receiver and in the slot. While he has had limited production since his promising 2016 season (50 catches in 2016 vs 25 since), he is extremely athletic, and reportedly ran a 4.35 40 in the spring of 2018 post surgery. H
Robinson could he a post-season riser. His athletic traits compare favorably to Hardman (5’10/187, 4.33 sec. 40) who finished his Georgia career with just 60 career catches, but was still drafted 56th overall last spring.
#74 Ben Cleveland (rJr.) RG/RT 6-6 335.
Cleveland came to Athens as a 4-star HS prospect and has experience at RG and at RT.
Great weight room numbers. Reportedly bench pressed 225 pounds 50 times in August of 2017.
Built like an OT, he did not look like that would be his best position when he struggled against Notre Dames’ pass rushers while filling in at RT. His natural position appears to be at guard.
Cleveland has a tough decision to make. He should probably consider returning for his final season of eligibility but with many 4 and 5 star recruits behind him, he might not be assured a starting role in 2020.
#84 Walter Grant (Jr.) OLB 6-4 245.
Georgia’s starting Will LB in their 3-4 defense, Grant brings old school size and good athleticism. He is someone I need to study more, and I may be underrating him, but I don’t see him being as consistently impactful as former Georgia ‘Backers Lorenzo Carter (Rd3, 2018) or D’Andre Walker (Rd5, 2019). Instead, he feels a little more like Davin Bellamy, who went undrafted in 2018.
#52 Tyler Clark (Sr.) DE 6-4 300.
An unanimous 4-star recruit, Clark has appeared in 50 games with 29 starts. He has experience at DE in a 3-4, NT and at DT in a 4-3.
A three-year starter, Clark’s role is to keep the blockers off the Georgia linebackers. He is good at that role, but hasn’t really shown the ability to dominate his opponent.
#18 Lawrence Cager (rSr.) WR 6-5 220.
A transfer from Miami, Cager has flashed but never shown consistency at either school. His skill set appears to be similar to Auden Tate (Florida State, Bengals), whose playing time has increased this season as he filled in for the injured AJ Green.