NFL coaches are doing a close study of Georgia prospects

semerson@macon.comMarch 26, 2013 

ATHENS - You probably didn't need any further evidence that Georgia is about to have a special NFL draft class. But here's more anyway, and it provides some clues to who might be picking the Bulldogs.

Seven different NFL head coaches have been in Athens over the past week, either meeting with Georgia draft prospects, or talking about them with Georgia coaches, or likely doing both. And of those seven head coaches, five of them hold picks in the top 10 of the first round.

Three of them were spotted at UGA pro day last Thursday: Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons.

But four others have streamed through, according to a UGA spokesman:

- Andy Reid, the new Kansas City Chiefs head coach, whose team holds the No. 1 overall pick. It's not likely that Reid is looking at Jarvis Jones for the first overall pick, but the Chiefs have a lot of picks, and could be looking at Jones and Alec Ogletree in the (unlikely) event of a trade-down in the first round. (Current Georgia inside linebacker Ryne Rankin, a freshman, tweeted about having met Reid on Monday.)

- Chip Kelly, the new Philadelphia Eagles head coach. This is an interesting name, because Kelly apparently wanted to interview Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who wanted to wait until after signing day, and then Kelly ended up hiring someone else. In any event Kelly, the former Oregon head coach, worked out Jones on Saturday.

- Gus Bradley, the new Jacksonville Jaguars head coach. The Jaguars have the second overall pick, and Jones undoubtedly informed Bradley of his exploits in the Jaguars' stadium in 2011 and 2012.

- Bruce Arians, the new Arizona Cardinals' head coach. The Cardinals own the seventh overall pick.

But it's Ryan, who was watching Jones very closely at pro day last week, who may be the one to watch for the former Georgia star linebacker. Among four NFL.com draft analysts, three have the Jets picking Jones with the ninth overall pick. The exception has Jones going sixth overall to Cleveland. (It should be noted that only one of those mock drafts, by Charley Casserly, has been posted since UGA pro day, when Jones had a slow time in the 40-yard dash. But Casserly still has Jones going No. 9 overall.)

Ogletree is projected by three of those same NFL.com analysts to be going to the same team: The New York Giants, at No. 19 overall. The Giants' head coach, Tom Coughlin, has not been in Athens yet. But their general manager, Jerry Reese, was at UGA pro day.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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