Something to think about when it comes to the offensive system that UGA employs
Hopefully those of you were quick to trash Jadon Haselwood for going to a more open offense will have a different perspective after reading this.
“The NFL can’t wait...or something. I was talking to one of the juniors who is going pro and he said, “We really don’t have any of those big-name juniors on our squad.” Meaning there were no sure-fire top picks like Roquan Smith was or Andrew Thomas will be. Again, this is from a guy who declared early
He’s right, too. But then. another one of those draft-eligible juniors said, “****Look at the team. We have [D’Andre] Swift, [Brian] Herrien, [James] Cook, and Zamir [White]. We have that o-line, and it’s only getting better. We’re going to run the ball. That’s how we’re built. And it’s great. Just not as much opportunity [for me].”****
So even the idea of being a fifth- or sixth-round draft pick may be preferable to staying and blocking for a running team. Besides, if you go pro, you get paid; if you’re good enough, you pick up a major contract in a few years.
I advised both guys with whom I spoke to ask UGA for insurance policies on injuries or loss of draft status. Georgia has a fund for it, I believe. One looked into it, but still went pro.
Nauta had a decent NFL projection, by the way: late second round through fourth. He will be the first to tell you, though, that those draft grades mean little. I don’t think any of these guys will be drafted in the first three rounds. I don’t believe they think so, either.
So the question I have received countless times is, Why are they going?
For those looking for some sort of culture problem or morale problem, I’m sorry to tell you that as far as I can see, there’s no split locker room. Kirby didn’t kick these guys off the team. They aren’t bad guys who failed their classes or who pour their milk before adding cereal. They’re just guys who had planned to go pro from the start.
I could see all four of these guys testing well at the combine. All are great athletes who have been trained for the NFL by Scott Sinclair in the weight room, and on the field by veteran college coaches. Plus, you have to look at what all four add on special teams. Kirby Smart uses his best players to block and cover. That could be the difference in an earlier round pick for Nauta, Holyfield, and Ridley, plus Mecole’s return skills are great.
Anyway, get used to it. It happens at every school. The better you recruit, the more opportunities you have for guys to go pro early. On the flip side, though, you also are better equipped to replace those guys. Georgia still has the No. 2 recruiting class and could finish No. 1 again.”