State of the position: Georgia will need to revamp its defensive line next season, as John Jenkins, Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington are set to move onto the NFL. Junior nose tackle Kwame Geathers might also forgo his senior season to declare for the NFL draft. Even if Geathers decides to stay, the loss of the other three starters will severely deplete an area that was not deep to begin with. Alabama’s running game showed that Georgia needs more talented bodies to plug into the trenches. Garrison Smith will anchor one of the defensive end spots, with the other going to Ray Drew or Mike Thornton. Jonathan Taylor redshirted this season and could make a big impact a nose next year along with Thornton.
Pros: “He can get a little overextended at times, but he can be a powerful kid and when he lands a clean blow and puts that thickly built body behind it, he can knock blockers off their feet. He can run well for his size in a straight line. He can flash some limited lateral range and is at his best when he can fire out straight ahead and flatten what is in his way. He is big on paper, but on film he comes across as even little bigger with a thick and stout build.” -- ESPN scouting report
Cons: “Will likely need to use his hands better. He has the tools to draw blocks and knock blockers back at times. Needs to work to keep more knee bend and not lunge and maintain that good base. You would also like to see him deliver more of a punch with his hands.” -- ESPN scouting report
Similar to/potential role: Abry Jones. Atkins is raw and actually reminds me more of former-Bulldog Justin Anderson. He projects as an offensive guard as well and played there extensively in high school. Atkins also played soccer in high school, which, despite being the keeper, showed he can run well for such a big man.
Expected impact: 2014. Atkins will find out on Dec. 26 if he scored high enough on his ACT to enroll at Georgia in January. The chance to go through spring camp would do wonders for Atkins as Rodney Garner could mold him into the defensive end Georgia needs. Atkins is athletic but it could take him a while to learn the defensive schemes and stunts. Georgia coaches want him to slim down a bit from his current 321 pounds.