If you listen to what is written in the 2022 NFL, you may have noticed that teams are showing interest in defenders in the Georgia Bulldogs.
Pa. Vote 1 Travon Walker started running, and when Thursday’s first race was over, five of the college’s top scorers were named. This was the first time in NFL history that one college defense sent the first five players in the league in a row.
By the end of the weekend, Georgia had set another record. Using Chase Stuart’s valuable chart, which uses history to measure each person’s worth, NFL teams spent more on Georgia defense than any other offense or defense writing once since the 1970 alliance. It was a special end of special protection.
Realizing this also made me think of other mega classes years ago. On paper, Georgia’s top five candidates and the top seven of the 102 have unique characteristics, but this was also true of major mistakes and strong defense from other years. How often did the college scholars fulfill their promise to prepare for it? Were they able to perform better than they always had?
With that in mind, I counted out the money I had spent on each aggressive and self-defense class in the school going back through 1970, and then I missed 15 more expensive classes. Most of them are still a work in progress, but we have enough examples to determine if they are winning or losing more often than they are.
I will share my findings after going through 15 programs, and I will be honest: I was amazed at what I found!
Remember that the year written in the school is the year of the draft in which these players were selected, not their year of schooling. The Georgia defensive team of 2022, for example, has players from the 2021 Bulldogs. Since the notes were longer than seven lines, Stuart’s chart considers all options after 224 choices to be zero values. I will be talking about the players who were drafted in the first and second divisions in these blurb, but I will mention the players who were recruited later if they are known.
Let’s start with another great defense, shown by a player who spent a year without a good performance as a professional:
Jump to the end:
Very large vessels
Selected players: Eight (first two rounds)
Best player: Security Tyrann Mathieu (No. 69)
The preparation team suffered a major LSU defense in the league outside of Morris Claiborne and Michael Brockers, who were eliminated in the first half of 2012. The top 100 in 2013 were LSU defenders.
The best players in the class did not qualify for the Tigers at all in 2012, as Mathieu was sacked in August of that year. He was arrested for possession of marijuana shortly afterwards, which resulted in the player falling into the Cardinals in the third round. Mathieu has been a role model and a very good defender in football despite tearing up his first ACLs with the Cardinals. He has been a well-known advocate for this group.
The first rounds in the class were Barkevious Mingo (No. 6), who could not prove himself the best, and Eric Reid (18), who suffered a hamstring injury in the middle of a tough game. Kevin Minter (45) and Bennie Logan (67) played alternatives, but third-placed Sam Montgomery (95) was cut by the Texans in the middle of his rookie season and never played in the NFL on the ground.
Mathieu would have been voted the best if there were no external challenges that ended his college career, but he is the only player in the team who has become a star.