Number One in NFL Draft Picks
Though clearly of second-tier importance down South, I did happen to notice that the NFL season starts today. I scoff whenever an over-loyal idiot of say LSU or Bama or Florida obfuscates the obvious by speaking of their best few seasons: The University of Georgia is the most consistent NFL factory in the world’s greatest football conference. FACT: Of any SEC school, UGA has had the most players drafted by the NFL in the past ten years.
We have had only one head coach for nine of those seasons. Every year, an exodus of Athens-schooled talent leaves the tutelage of Mark Richt for the bigs. And we do have the winning records to substantiate that our talent does yield victories. Last year was Richt’s worst (8-5), when Georgia performed remarkably poorly on defense and also clearly missed the offensive leadership of Moreno (12th overall), Stafford (1st) and Massaquoi. Looking farther back, we won: 10 games, 11 games, 9 games, 10 games, 10 games, 13 games. Two down seasons in a row at GEORGIA just does not happen. We will never be confused, as a program, with South Carolina.
That said, our most obvious NFL talent this season is AJ Green, and barring successful NCAA appeal he won’t play in Columbia. Nor will he play at home – where we have had at least one annual hiccup since 2003 – against explosive Arkansas. Nor back on the road in Starkville against an improving Miss State squad. It’s a huge loss, but it may help us in terms of team talent development and player confidence building. We actually played much better without AJ last season, because we spread the ball around and ran it well with Ealey and King.
If the DAWGS are 4-0 upon AJ’s return, a trip to The ATL for the SEC title game looks quite feasible considering the impending identity crisis underway at Florida and the lack of mature talent on Rocky Top. At 3-1, we would still be a solid contender in the East.
It’s one at a time for the players and coaches, and I expect Carolina to play out to prove that this is their best squad under Spurrier. And the chickens will crow. The music will pump. The drunken rednecks will make some Carolina noise and get rowdy. And none of that matters if we play to our potential.