ATHENS - If you don't want to miss a former Georgia player being picked in the NFL draft, here should be your plan: Maybe sit out the first 5-10 picks, but after that, stay glued to the TV.
There are almost certain to be nine Bulldogs picked, which will be a school record, and they will be fairly evenly spread out over Thursday night (first round), Friday night (second and third round) and Saturday (final four rounds.)
Based on looking at way too many mock drafts - I'm surprised President Obama hasn't done one yet - here are my educated guesses on where the Georgia players will go:
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OLB Jarvis Jones: His stock did slip gradually after the season, with a weak UGA pro day not helping him. But already you can sense push-back from NFL people, essentially saying that you can't ignore the college production. Most mock drafts have Jones going somewhere in the teens, with New Orleans (at No. 15) and Pittsburgh (at No. 17) the most mentioned landing spots.
-Late-first, early-to-second round-
ILB Alec Ogletree: While Jones' projected spot has settled, Ogletree's has become pretty wide-ranging. Mel Kiper has him rated as his No. 20 overall prospect. But Mike Mayock has him No. 44. Some mockers still having him going midway through the first round, while another one (by NFL.com's Josh Norris) had Ogletree falling all the way to No. 50, midway through the second round. It does seem that Ogletree's stock has fallen, and strangely it comes well after the DUI arrest was supposed to send him out of the first round, but didn't at first. Perhaps as the draft gets closer more teams are becoming skittish on the character questions. Of course, it only takes one team, so at this point it's still more likely Ogletree goes in the first round.
-Second or early-third round-
DT John Jenkins: Someone taking Big John late in the first round can't be ruled out, but the consensus seems to be second round. And that previously-mentioned NFL.com mock draft had Jenkins going early in the third, 73rd overall, only seven spots ahead of Bacarri Rambo. The expectation here is Jenkins' blend of size and athleticism will be too much to resist, and someone will take him in the top half of the second round.
OLB Cornelius Washington This guy rocketing up the draft board because of workouts was easily predictable. For as long as he's been in the program, teammates, coaches and media members have been in awe of Washington's physique and athletic talents, and while the on-field production didn't quite match it, the measurables are still astounding. Now does that mean he'll be a great NFL player, and history will show he was misused at Georgia? Probably not. But it does mean some team that puts a premium on combine numbers will take him relatively high.
- Third or fourth round-
S Shawn Williams: Mel Kiper is among those higher on Williams than Rambo, calling Williams a second or third round pick, and Rambo a third or fourth-rounder. But second-round seems a stretch, as much as we think any team that takes Williams will end up very happy with him. As longtime analyst Gil Brant wrote on NFL.com: "Williams is not a good-looking athlete, but the best way to describe him is as a 'football player,' meaning that while he doesn’t work out well he does shine when it’s 11-on-11 on the field."
S Bacarri Rambo: Everyone who's seen Rambo play at Georgia knows he's high-risk, high-reward as a safety. He'll make plays, including interceptions, but at the pro level is also likely to give up some big plays. An NFL team, let's guess somewhere in the fourth round, will take him and hope to refine his coverage abilities.
DB Sanders Commings: Behind the scenes, it's a good bet that Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is telling his old NFL buddies that Commings can be a very solid cornerback at the next level. Some might prefer him as a safety, but Commings has good size for a cornerback, and the bet here is he's more likely to be picked higher than expected, perhaps even the third round.
WR Tavarres King: The receiver position is relatively deep this year, which could push King further down than expected. He's projected for the sixth round by NFL.com. King's lack of great size (he's 6-foot-1) or great speed will prevent him from being among the first 10 receivers picked. But the tape will show, and Georgia coaches will attest, that he was a dependable receiver and a good citizen, so someone will take him early on Saturday.
DT Kwame Geathers: There was some talk of a second-day pick when Geathers came out, but otherwise it's been quiet. He was even predicted to go in the seventh round by NFL.com. That would be a surprise. Like Jenkins, Geathers just has too much size and athleticism to fall that far.
-Late round or free agent-
DE Abry Jones: Clearly the ankle injury late last year has hurt Jones' stock. He was more of a middle-round guy before last season started, and may still have that potential. But the ankle, while healed by now, prevented him from playing in the Senior Bowl or doing much at the NFL combine.
CB-KR Branden Smith: Not getting an invite to the NFL combine hurt. Smith tried to make up for it with a good performance at UGA's pro day. The speed and athletic ability will make him intriguing to someone, so don't rule out a sixth- or seventh-round flyer. (By that point in the draft, it's a crapshoot.)
WR Marlon Brown: Another guy hurt by an injury last year. A strong senior season was helping Brown move into a mid-round prospect, on par with King, but since tearing his ACL Brown hasn't been able to do much. Like Smith, it wouldn't be surprising if someone took a late-round flyer on him, but the free agent route seems more likely.
RB Richard Samuel: Samuel had perhaps the best performance at UGA pro day. Did it make some NFL team excited enough to pick a guy who wasn't playing by the end of his senior season?
LB Christian Robinson: Like Aron White last year, Robinson is a guy who will try to get drafted, and try to go free agent if it doesn't happen, but long-term Robinson (and White) should have bright futures in whatever careers they pursue.