Georgia made history in many ways during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft Thursday night. The team had three players selected in the first round. Georgia also had its first offensive lineman selected in the first round since 2003. The Bulldogs were the first team since 2005 to have one team take two of their players in the first round. It appears that Georgia’s just getting started with its historic draft run as the rest of the rounds occur this weekend.
Georgia’s First Round
The Bulldogs had three players selected in the opening round of the draft for the first time in school history. Roquan Smith, Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel heard their names Thursday night and join some famous Bulldog names to go in the first round. Another thing Georgia accomplished on Thursday night was the fact that Wynn marked the first offensive lineman to go in the opening round since 2003. The last offensive lineman to go was George Foster, who went to the New Orleans Saints at the 20th overall pick.
Finally, Georgia became the first team since 2005 to have two players go to one team. The last team to do this was Auburn and the Washington Redskins. Wynn and Michel were selected to go to the New England Patriots late in the first round. The two gave the Bulldogs a total of 318 players taken all-time in the NFL Draft.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) April 27, 2018
Roquan goes at No. 8 to ‘Da Bears’
Roquan Smith had his name called as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears selected him with its first pick. Smith, a Montezuma, Georgia, native became the first Georgia player selected in the Draft. He becomes the highest drafted Bulldog since All-Pro receiver A.J. Green was selected fourth by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011. The Bears have now taken 19 Bulldogs since Jim Fordham in 1944. Georgia’s last player selected by the Bears was Leonard Floyd who when ninth overall in 2016.
Smith completed three years with the Bulldogs. He left Athens as one of the most dominant defensive forces in school history. A consensus All-American, Smith became the first Georgia player to win the Butkus Award as the nation’s most outstanding linebacker. He was honored as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Smith led the team in tackles for the second year in a row with 137 tackles, including 14.0 TFL, and 6.5 sacks. He forced one fumble and had two fumble recoveries. Smith was the SEC Championship MVP with 13 tackles. Then he brought back the Rose Bowl Game Defensive MVP honors with 11 stops. In the National Championship game against Alabama, he compiled 13 tackles, including a sack and 2.5 TFL. Smith was one of the team’s permanent captains following the season.
Pair of Bulldogs head to New England
Sony Michel and Isaiah Wynn added their names to the Bulldogs first round picks in their own way. Both were selected by the New England Patriots to play football. Wynn went as the 23rd overall pick and Michel as the 31st overall pick. The two become the 10th and 11th Bulldogs selected by the Patriots since Andy Johnson in 1974. New England’s last first-round pick who was a Bulldog was Ben Watson in 2004. The last team’s overall selection from Georgia was Malcolm Mitchell in 2016 who went in the fourth round.
Michel, a Plantation, Florida native, finished his Bulldog career as part of the most dynamic rushing duos in NCAA History. He played in 47 games since 2014 and gained 3,638 yards, 33 touchdowns on 591 carries. Michel averaged 6.2 yards per carry in his career. He was one of the team’s permanent captains and gained 1,227 yards on the ground this season. Michel averaged 7.9 yards a carry and scored16 times this season. He also had 96 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. Michel finished his career at Georgia No. 3 on the Bulldogs’ all-time rushing list behind Herschel Walker and Nick Chubb.
Wynn, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, was named an Associated Press and AFCA Second Team All-American as well as to the Coaches and AP All-SEC First Team. He started all 15 games for the Bulldogs at left tackle last season. Named as one of the team’s permanent captain, Wynn completed his career with 41 total starts at guard or tackle. He anchored an offensive line in 2017 that featured three new starters and finished with the nation’s fourth-best and SEC’s top Red Zone Offense (96 percent) and the country’s ninth-ranked Rushing Offense (258.4 yards/game).
He protected true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm as he completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,615 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Bulldogs ranked 11th nationally in Pass Efficiency following the team’s 15-game slate. Wynn helped Nick Chubb and Michel to record a combined 2,572 yards on the ground and 31 rushing touchdowns. Georgia finished undefeated at home and against the SEC East competition.
Expectations for Rounds 2-7:
Georgia had at least one player drafted in each of the past 26 drafts. The most players the Bulldogs had selected in one draft was eight in 2013. Georgia had five players go in the first three rounds in 2009, which marked the most by the team. In recent years, the Bulldogs had one drafted in 2017, five in 2016, five in 2015 and two in 2014. As for this draft, Georgia has the opportunity to draft at least four to five more.
The Bulldogs still available are Nick Chubb, Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy, Javon Wims, and John Atkins. However, Trenton Thompson, Cameron Nizialek, Dominick Sanders, Aaron Davis and Reggie Carter could sneak in. There are eight who are at least good bets, and if they all get drafted it’ll match the record. However, the team has a chance to break that record and have it’s most drafted ever.