ATHENS – It’s not unusual to see a man with an NFL logo on his shirt hanging out at Georgia football practice. That doesn't mean the novelty wears off, or that players become impervious to their presence.
“Oh yeah, they know when the scouts are there,” head coach Mark Richt said. “We actually pay guys to put NFL gear on and stand there.”
Richt was kidding. But he smiled, as if it had just occurred to him it might be a good idea.
“It would work,” he said.
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The subject came up before earlier in the day Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, having just played Georgia, had some high praise.
“I think they will have more kids drafted off that defense than any we have faced,” Freeze said. “I think their size and speed is pretty special.”
Ole Miss, it bears noting, played Alabama earlier this season.
The latest edition of the Scouts Inc. list of top draft-eligible players has three Georgia defenders in the top 17: Jones (third), tackle John Jenkins (16th) and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree (17th). Jones and Ogletree are juniors.
ESPN analyst Todd McShay has also said that senior safety Shawn Williams has a chance to be a first-round pick. Senior safety Bacarri Rambo was an All-American last year.
Richt was asked if this was the most NFL talent he’s had on a defense. Thinking back, he mentioned the 2002 team, which had 2003 first-round picks Jonathan Sullivan and George Foster, and 2005 first-round picks David Pollack and Thomas Davis
“There’s been some others too,” Richt said. “You know what happens sometimes is you go back and look at a game from a few years ago and you say: Wow, there were a lot of guys that played pro ball. There’s definitely a lot of guys that will get drafted this year, and a lot of them that will probably get drafted some other year, the next year or the year after that.”