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Draft Class Review: Georgia

Continuing our draft roundup around the SEC, the next stop is in Georgia, where the Bulldogs produced five draft picks last weekend.

To nobody’s surprise, Gurley was the first Georgia player to go off the board. However, the fact he went to the Rams at No. 10 qualified as a minor upset considering how many other needs St. Louis has.

The quality of Mark Richt’s program was on full display in Chicago, as a Bulldog was drafted in every round except the second and seventh. Let’s take a deeper look at the 2015 Georgia draft class.

Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams (1st round, 10th overall) 

The best back in the draft didn’t fall at all despite not being fully recovered from a torn ACL. Gurley endured a tough 2014 season but still became the first running back taken in the top 10 since fellow SEC alum Trent Richardson. Hopefully Gurley’s career turns out better, as Richardson has been one of the biggest draft busts of all time. While St. Louis will rely on a bunch of rookie offensive linemen to open up holes for their top pick, a healthy Gurley is such a transcendent talent that it might not matter who’s blocking for him. The biggest question remains whether he’ll be healthy for the start of the regular season.

Chris Conley, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (3rd round, 76th overall) 

Further proof that the combine can be the easiest way to move up draft boards, Conley ended up going in the middle of the third round thanks to a historic workout. Back in Indy, the 6’2″, 213-pound wideout floored scouts with a 4.35 40-yard dash, 45″ vertical and 11’7″ broad jump. Those numbers obviously impressed the Chiefs brass, who made Conley the 12th receiver off the board. Though he’s still raw as a route-runner and needs to show better concentration, the speedster is exactly the type of playmaking presence Kansas City needs opposite free-agent signee Jeremy Maclin.

Ramik Wilson, ILB, Kansas City Chiefs (4th round, 118th overall) 

One of two Georgia linebackers to get drafted, Wilson will follow Conley all the way to Arrowhead. A Senior Bowl selection and 2014 second-team All-SEC pick, Wilson was highly productive in two years as a starter. The 6’2″, 237-pounder isn’t a fantastic athlete, but he’s definitely solid enough. Considering his draft status, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Wilson start next to Derrick Johnson on the inside of Kansas City’s 3-4 defense.

Which Georgia inside linebacker will end up being the better NFL player?

Which Georgia inside linebacker will end up being the better NFL player?

Damian Swann, CB, New Orleans Saints (5th round, 167th overall) 

One of my favorite late-round sleepers, Swann joins a revamped secondary in New Orleans that also includes third-round rookie P.J. Williams and two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Browner. Swann is an average athlete for the position, but he was a big-time playmaker as a three-year starter in Athens. It’s clear the Saints are attempting to build a Seahawks-like secondary with the 6’0″, 189-pound Swann joining the 6’4″ Browner, 6’0″ Williams and 6’0″ Keenan Lewis. The 2014 second-team All-SEC selection doesn’t project as a starter, but he should be a good special teams addition and eventual rotational defensive back.

Amarlo Herrera, ILB, Indianapolis Colts (6th round, 207th overall) 

Georgia’s final draft selection might end up being a better player than the more hyped Wilson. Herrera checks in at a rock-solid 6’1″, 244 pounds and plays with a great motor. Also a three-year starter, Herrera earned second-team All-SEC honors last fall after posting 115 tackles (10 tackles for loss) and three sacks. The Colts really struggled against the run last season, and the inside linebacker depth chart doesn’t look too promising. While he will likely be relegated to special teams and a reserve role, there’s a good chance Herrera gets a shot to earn a starting spot in training camp.

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