ATHENS, Ga. -- No team was better represented than Georgia when ESPN Scouts Inc. recently released its top 32 prospects for the 2013 NFL draft.
No other team had more than three prospects on the list. Georgia had four off its defense alone, led by senior nose guard John Jenkins, the No. 5 overall prospect on the list. And that status did not surprise Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham -- who spent 11 seasons as an NFL assistant before joining Mark Richt’s UGA staff in 2010 -- one bit.
“I evaluated defensive linemen in pro football for 11 years, and I know what first-round picks look like, and I know what they can be,” Grantham said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think for him to get to where he wants to go and for that to be true, he’s obviously got to continue to work hard this year, but I can tell you that he’s a really good player in my mind, and he can achieve a lot of goals he set for himself this year.”
Jenkins is one of four Bulldogs ranked among the top 23 prospects on the list -- which can include any players who are draft-eligible in 2013 -- along with junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (No. 15), junior linebacker Alec Ogletree (No. 20) and senior safety Shawn Williams (No. 23).
“There’s a lot of guys that end up high and all of a sudden fall. And there’s guys that all of a sudden they come out of nowhere and end up being first-round picks,” Grantham said. “I think those guys being that high is a credit to what they did last year. If they can show consistency in their performance and play to that level, then I can expect to see them stay there.”
Six more Bulldogs ranked among ESPN Scouts Inc.’s top 150 draft prospects: senior receiver Tavarres King (No. 70), junior quarterback Aaron Murray (No. 77), senior safety Bacarri Rambo (No. 86), senior defensive end Cornelius Washington (No. 101), junior nose guard Kwame Geathers (No. 109) and senior cornerback Branden Smith (No. 144).
Only defending SEC champion LSU has more draft prospects than Georgia according to a recent column by ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. -- an opinion that senior linebacker Michael Gilliard said aligns with a casual observation he made during a break in practice.
“Yesterday at practice, it was going through my head,” Gilliard said at the Bulldogs’ Tuesday press luncheon. “I was on the sideline getting some water, and I was just looking around and thinking, ‘We have a lot of talent on this team.’ So I’m definitely not surprised that he said that.”