ATHENS -The final day of the NFL draft will see dreams realized for Georgia football players, albeit some later than expected.
The result was a busy fourth round for those Bulldogs, who saw center Ben Jones (Houston), tight end Orson Charles (Cincinnati) and cornerback Brandon Boykin (Philadelphia) all get selected.
Cordy Glenn was selected in the second round by Buffalo.
Jones became the second Bulldog to hear his name called in the draft, as he was selected 99th overall by the Texans.
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"It's the South. I love being from the South. I was born down here. It's great staying in the South," Jones, an Alabama native, said on a conference call with Houston reporters.
Jones said the Texans' blocking scheme is "very similar" to Georgia's.
Charles was picked later in the fourth round, 116th overall by the Bengals. Charles, who skipped his senior year at Georgia, went much later than expected, possibly the result of his DUI arrest in March.
Charles re-joins A.J. Green, the star receiver who the Bengals picked fourth overall in the 2011 draft. But the Bengals already have a Pro Bowl tight end in Jermaine Gresham, so Charles will have to compete.
Charles said "a few" teams asked him about the DUI arrest.
"I told them that it was a one-time event that will never happen again," Charles said. "It was one of the worst things that has happened in my life. It was hard to explain to my little brother what I did and to tell my mother how sorry I was. My mother and grandma had to leave work — I just put my family in a bind. I’ll never put bad substances in my body because know I know how much it can hurt my family, church and friends.”
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was also asked about the number of Georgia players on the roster.
“We have a great relationship there with the coaching staff, obviously. I can call Coach Richt at any point," Lewis said. "I think he’s very honest and frank with us about things. This is a guy (Charles) that wanted to know if he could come here today. He was ready to get on the plane and come (laughs). Those are the kinds of guys we have on our football team from there (Georgia) — very no-nonsense, all about football and winning. And they’re good people. They’re coached well, they’ve learned, they know how to prepare. It’s been a great place for us and a really comfortable place for our coaches and scouts to visit. We have a great relationship with them.”
Boykin then 123rd overall, to the Eagles. Boykin appeared to have his stock hurt after incurring a leg injury in the Senior Bowl.
Boykin goes to a team very deep at cornerback, but his ability to return kicks should certainly help. He told Philadelphia reporters that he can also help stop the run, despite his size.
“I do enjoy it. That’s something that I…get overlooked for, for me being a smaller corner and playing the slot,” Boykin said. “People say you’ve got to be able to tackle, and my ability to cover and tackle are up to par.”
As for Jones, the Texans appear to need a center, with former Alabama center Antoine Caldwell their most experienced player at that spot. NFL teams also tend to draft centers in the first few rounds only if they have a real chance to start right away.
Jones was a four-year starter for Georgia, and one of the team's main locker-room leaders.
His selection means two-fifths of Georgia's offensive line in 2011 was picked in the first four rounds of the draft.
Regarding Charles, I asked Georgia head coach Mark Richt earlier this week how he felt the arrest had his hurt his stock.
“I don’t know what that did to him. It only takes one team to draft you. And so you never know if a certain team thought of him one way and now may think differently, or it doesn’t bother them at all," Richt said. "I would say if you ask me, me knowing Orson the way I know him – way out of character, and a guy who I know has learned an awful lot from it already. I don’t think anybody’s ever gonna have to worry about him getting out of line again because he lived through it and doesn’t ever want to live through it again.”