NFL

Year of the Dawgs: NFL draft’s first round a culmination of impressive run for Georgia football


With four first round picks, the Georgia Bulldogs flexed their muscles on night one of the NFL Draft — but it was just a continuation of a red-hot streak for UGA football.

Just months after the Atlanta Braves won the World Series, The Bulldogs kicked off 2022 by winning the College Football Playoff National Championship in January, ending a 40-season title drought. The victory also broke a seven-game losing streak — including three with hardware on the line — against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

“I told the guys in the locker room, just take a picture of this, because I think back to the ’80 championship picture and seeing all those players and the Frank Roses and the Herschel Walkers and all these people that have reached out and said things,” Head coach Kirby Smart said after the title win. “Our guys have accomplished that, something special, and as they say, they’ve become legendary, and I want that for them.”

In the following month, 2009’s first overall pick Matthew Stafford became the first Georgia quarterback to win a Super Bowl as a starter. In his first year with the Los Angeles Rams, Stafford sealed the team’s 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals with a one-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp late in the fourth quarter. The Bengals were led by another former first overall pick quarterback in Joe Burrow.

The Bulldogs latest standout showing took place in Las Vegas on Thursday night.

Read more: Pros and cons for every first-round pick so far

Defensive end Travon Walker was No. 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was just the second time a Bulldog was selected with the first overall pick, joining Stafford who was selected by the Detroit Lions in 2009.

Walker joined another elite club as the fourth defensive end drafted first overall in the past 20 years. The previous three (Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Mario Williams) all made at least three Pro Bowls.

Next up, defensive tackle Jordan Davis went to the Philadelphia Eagles with pick No. 13. Philly hadn’t drafted a DT in the first round since Fletcher Cox in 2012. At 6-foot-6, 340 pounds, Davis’ size and speed gives the Eagles’ interior rush efforts a big boost. He recorded a 4.78-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, which is fairly close to his new quarterback Jalen Hurts’, who ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at the 2020 combine.

Linebacker Quay Walker and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt went to the Green Bay Packers at picks number 22 and 29, respectively. The selections marked the first time one team drafted two players from the same school in the first round by of a draft during the Common Draft Era. The first round ended with the Minnesota Vikings selecting UGA safety Lewis Cine.

The five total first round selections was a new record for Georgia football and a record for the most players taken from one defense in the first round in the common era. That number is one short of the record for total picks from one team shared by Miami in 2004 and Alabama in 2021.





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