At 8 PM ET tonight, the NFL will kick-off the first round of it’s 50th Draft since the June 8, 1966 merger of the NFL and AFL, with rounds two through three taking place on Friday and rounds four through seven on Saturday, and there are a number of University of Georgia football players vying to get drafted in this 2016 NFL Draft.
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) April 27, 2016
Last year in the 2015 NFL Draft, five Bulldogs were selected, starting with running back Todd Gurley in the first round at pick number 10 by the St. Louis Rams. Wide receiver Chris Conely was the next Georgia player taken at pick number 76 in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs, and linebacker Ramik Wilson was not far behind his teammate as he was also drafted by the Chiefs at pick 118 in the fourth round. The New Orleans Saints were the next NFL team to select a Georgia player, taking defensive back Damian Swann at pick 167 in the fifth round. The last Bulldog to be drafted in last year’s draft was linebacker Amarlo Herrera by the Indianapolis Colts at pick 207 in the sixth round.
So how many Georgia Bulldogs could end up hearing their name called over the next three days?
Linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins are possibly the top two prospects from UGA in this year’s draft. Floyd has been projected to go anywhere from the 5th overall pick in the first round to the 15th pick while Jenkins has received a first to third round grade. And what about wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, running back Keith Marshall, or offensive tackles John Theus and Kolton Houston?
Mitchell is slated as a day three selection, projecting to be taken anywhere from the fourth to fifth rounds, and Marshall, who had a stellar NFL Combine, has likely worked his way to becoming a day three selection as well, being projected to be drafted in the sixth to seventh rounds. However, some analysts and scouts have stated Marshall could end up being drafted as high as the 3rd round on Friday based on that spectacular Combine performance along with his Pro-day and workouts.
Georgia’s two offensive tackles in this year’s draft, John Theus and Kolton Houston are both also projected as possible day three selections with Theus projected as a fourth to sixth round pick while Houston is on the bubble as a possible late sixth or seventh round selection.
Floyd and Jenkins are not the only defensive players from the Bulldogs that could be drafted. Georgia has two defensive linemen, defensive end Sterling Bailey and nose guard Chris Mayes, that are projected to go as possible fifth to seventh round selections.
But even if any of these DGDs do not get their names called between Thursday and Saturday, their NFL dreams are not dashed. Players that are not drafted become undrafted free agents, and in many cases, are invited to camps and team tryouts. In fact, a number of Georgia Bulldogs have made it in the NFL that were not drafted. Last year center David Andrews was picked up by the New England Patriots and started the first 10 games and a total of 11 games, playing in 14 games at center for the AFC Eastern division team. In 2013, wide receiver Marlon Brown was signed by the Baltimore Ravens after going undrafted and has enjoyed a solid NFL career with 87 receptions for 891 yards and 7 touchdowns so far. After the 2012 NFL Draft, Drew Butler was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers and is currently with the Arizona Cardinals.
For players like punter Collin Barber, cornerback Devin Bowman, defensive end Josh Dawson, defensive tackle James DeLoach, linebacker Jake Ganus, fullback Quayvon Hicks, center Hunter Long, kicker Marshall Morgan, tight end Jay Rome, and long snapper Nathan Theus if they don’t get selected in the seven rounds of the draft, all have a good chance of trying out for a team as undrafted free agents.
Where can a guy or gal watch the 2016 NFL Draft?
Both ESPN and the NFL Network will carry live televised coverage and commentary of this year’s NFL Draft, but you will also be able to follow the Draft online with your computer, smart phone or tablet through WATCH ESPN or NFL.com. Both Apple and Android have apps for those respective devices for both WATCH ESPN and NFL Mobile which is another good way to follow the “action.”
2016 NFL Draft Schedule
When: Thursday, April 28, 8 PM ET
Where: Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, Illinois
TV: ESPN & NFL Network
Time Per Pick: 10 minutes
When: Friday, April 29, 7 PM ET
TV: ESPN & NFL Network
Time Per Pick: 7 minutes for the second round and 5 minutes for the third round
When: Saturday, April 30, 12 Noon ET
TV: ESPN & NFL Network
Time Per Pick: 5 minutes for rounds four through six and 4 minutes for the seventh round