Georgia Bulldogs: Mel Kiper Jr.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia returned from a quiet spring break this week with two spring practices, but the big news around campus was the NFL-bound Bulldogs’ pro day on Thursday.

Jarvis Jones was of course the biggest story at pro day after the two-time All-American skipped the workouts at last month’s NFL combine -- and his day was a bit of a disappointment before a huge crowd of scouts and personnel execs. Nonetheless Jones, ranked fifth on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board, said it was a good day. He also further discussed going through the draft process and teams’ apparent concerns about his health and potential longevity in the pros.

We caught up with several of the 17 Bulldogs who participated in pro day and discussed how their preparations are progressing, including slimmed-down John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers, linebacker Alec Ogletree, defensive lineman Abry Jones and receiver Marlon Brown.

As for the current Bulldogs, today is a big day, as they will hold their first spring scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.

We updated the progress of rising sophomore outside linebacker James DeLoach earlier this week and also provided some practice updates from coaches and players after practices on Tuesday and Thursday, as well as a photo gallery from Tuesday’s practice.

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UGA pro day notes: Chasing history 

March, 21, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- After 17 of his former players worked out in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams on Thursday, Georgia coach Mark Richt expressed his opinion that this crop of ex-Bulldogs might set a new program record for the most players picked in one draft.

“I thought they looked great,” Richt said. “I don’t know what kind of times guys ran and all that kind of thing, but if you just look at their body types, how hard they’ve worked and just watched them do the drillwork and how smooth they looked, you could tell there’s going to be a bunch of Bulldogs out of this class make it in the league, and we’re excited about that for them.”

[+] EnlargeMark Richt
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesMark Richt expects at least eight Bulldogs to be drafted off of Georgia's SEC East-winning roster.
Richt’s 2002 draft class holds the program record with eight selections, but it’s highly possible the Bulldogs will have at least that many players selected in next month’s draft. Six players -- linebackers Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones, defensive lineman John Jenkins, safeties Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo and receiver Tavarres King -- all rank among ESPN Scouts Inc.’s top 115 prospects. Others like defensive lineman Kwame Geathers, defensive back Sanders Commings and defensive end Cornelius Washington all stand a good chance of getting drafted, as well, with an additional group of Bulldogs hoping to crack the draft’s later rounds or make a squad as an undrafted free agent.

Three to watch at UGA pro day

March, 20, 2013
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Branden SmithScott Cunningham/Getty ImagesBranden Smith didn't get an invitation to the NFL combine in February, but the speedy CB will have a legitimate chance Thursday to increase his stock.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia has had three players picked in the first round of the NFL draft in the last four years. None of them were defensive players, extending a strange streak of seven straight years in which the Bulldogs have not had a defender become a first-round pick.

That will almost certainly change on April 25, when the league opens its three-day draft at New York’s Radio City Music Hall -- Bulldogs defenders Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and John Jenkins are all first-rounders in ESPN analyst Todd McShay’s most recent mock draft, while Ogletree and Jones are first-round picks in ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent mock -- but Thursday’s pro day workouts at Georgia’s practice facility could greatly impact those projections.

It’s obviously a big day for Jones, who did not work out at the NFL combine in February, but that’s also the case for several of his former teammates who will participate in Georgia’s pro day. The Bulldogs are tied with Alabama and Florida State for the most players -- six -- ranked on ESPN Scouts Inc.’s list of the top 115 prospects in the draft -- Ogletree (No. 12), Jones (No. 16), Jenkins (No. 25), Bacarri Rambo (No. 86), Shawn Williams (No. 92) and Tavarres King (No. 115). Thursday’s pro day will surely be well attended by NFL scouts and personnel execs. It’s a perfect opportunity for ex-Bulldogs who don’t have the draft profile of an Ogletree or Jones to catch somebody’s eye.

Let’s take a look at three players who can each help his own cause at Thursday’s pro day workouts:

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Jones tops two NFL draft prospect lists

September, 19, 2012
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He didn't even play last Saturday against Florida Atlantic and Jarvis Jones still rose in the opinions of ESPN's NFL draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.

Jones occupies the No. 1 spot in both analysts' lists of the top prospects for the 2013 NFL draft. The All-America outside linebacker rested a tweaked groin during the FAU game, but said he will be ready to go Saturday when Georgia hosts Vanderbilt.

Bulldogs fans can only hope he picks up where he left off the last time he was on the field, when he generated two fourth-quarter turnovers that helped Georgia pull away from Missouri -- a buzzworthy performance that helped him rise to the top of the boards.

Said Kiper, guessing that many will see the move being more about demoting USC quarterback Matt Barkley: " ... this move is still more about how exceptional Jarvis Jones has been, even coming off a weekend where he rested. The Georgia star can really do it all on defense.

He's the most relentless pass-rusher in the country, a guy who closes fast and must be planned for."

See Kiper's full rankings here. Insider

Said McShay of Jones' rise: "That's not to say I believe Jones will be the top overall pick when April rolls around, but at this point he's taking advantage of Barkley and other struggling prospects and boosting his stock." See McShay's full rankings here. Insider

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