Georgia football: Who improved their draft stock at NFL combine?

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Draft Dawgs: Who rose their stock?

Ten former Georgia Bulldogs spent the last week in Indianapolis working out for NFL scouts and coaches in hopes of improving their draft stock. And while every player put in a solid showing and no player did anything to harm his standing — although a hamstring injury that kept Davin Bellamy out of drills did him no favors — a couple of players did stand out above the others.

First and foremost, there was perhaps no player at the combine whose stock rose more than Nick Chubb. Scouts watched him tear it up at Georgia for years, but there were still lingering concerns about his speed, fitness and physicality in the wake of that devastating 2015 knee injury. Those concerns were put to rest as Chubb established himself as one of the most physically impressive players in this class. His 4.52 in the 40 tied for sixth-best among tailbacks, and his vertical jump (38.5 inches) was fourth-best among tailbacks. His 29 reps on bench press tied him for tops at the position with consensus No. 1 tailback Saquon Barkley.

Despite finishing his career as the second-leading rusher in UGA and SEC history, when the season ended it seemed like Sony Michel was destined to be drafted higher than Chubb because of Michel’s dynamic performances down the stretch of their senior season. And that still very well may end up the case. But Chubb’s dominance at the combine has brought it back into question. I’m looking for both to go off the board before the end of the second round.

The other former Dawgs player to raise his stock significantly was Lorenzo Carter, who, like Chubb, impressed scouts with his freakish athleticism. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Carter plainly has the size to be a fantastic NFL edge-rusher. But his 4.50 in the 40, second-best among edge-rushers, is what really put scouts on notice. More impressive yet, his leap of 10 feet, 10 inches is the longest broad jump from an edge-rusher in the history of the combine.

Carter displayed every tool needed to be an outstanding NFL outside linebacker, one of the most important positions for teams that run a 3-4 defense. Which means teams that run a 3-4 are going to be lining up to land Carter early in the draft. He had been projected as a second-round pick, maybe even slipping into the third. But with his combine performance, Carter is looking more and more like a first-round selection. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay moved Carter to the first round of his latest mock draft and has him going 31st overall to the New England Patriots.

Former Bulldogs heading to the NFL will have another chance to impress NFL before the draft, when scouts and coaches come to Athens on in a few weeks for UGA’s pro day. And like the combine, you’ll be able to watch Chubb, Carter and all the other former Dawgs work out at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 21, live on the SEC Network.

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Dawgs dominate Vandy to advance in SEC Tournament

There may be hope yet for Georgia men’s basketball this season.

In the wake of consecutive close losses to close out the regular season, Georgia opened the SEC Tournament in St. Louis with a dominant 78-62 victory over Vanderbilt, fueling the hope these Dawgs can rattle off enough SEC tourney wins to earn a bid to March Madness. The Bulldogs scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back.

One thing was clear from Georgia’s performance against Vandy: Yante Maten wants to win … bad. UGA’s star man was even more dominant than normal, scoring 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. He was even able to sit the final 4 minutes of the game, a rarity for the senior.

This exceptional performance does beg a question: Where was this team all season?

“The game of basketball gets a lot easier when everyone makes shots,” Maten said Wednesday night, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation. “Because [the opponent] isn’t sure who to lock in on. The freshmen did a really great job coming in playing their role in the offense. And our defense as well. Everyone was locked in, so that helped me out tremendously.”

As Emerson noted, the times when those freshman play their roles effectively and give the offense a couple viable options outside of Maten have been few and far between. But those freshmen haven’t shown the consistency to have me believe they can carry on their form into the next game. So I’m not overly optimistic about the Dawgs chances vs. Missouri, a much tougher team, on Thursday night.

But it will be interesting to see how they battle with their backs to the wall the rest of the tournament. The Bulldogs are fighting for a lot right now. They’re fighting for Mark Fox’s job and to send Maten and the seniors out on a high note and to prove they’re a better team than the 17-14 record says. There’s nothing for them to lose and everything for them to gain. Let’s see how bad these Dawgs want it and how hard they’re willing to fight to get it.

The best fit for …

I spent the last few weeks giving a Bulldogs-by-Bulldogs look at each Georgia player invited to the combine and which team would give them the best chance to succeed in the NFL. If you missed one, or just want to give a few another gander, all those posts can be found below.

The best fit for … Roquan Smith | Trenton Thompson | Javon Wims | Lorenzo Carter | Nick Chubb | John Atkins | Isaiah Wynn | Davin Bellamy | Dominick Sanders | Sony Michel

Odds & Ends

Here are some DawgNation posts you might have missed Wednesday.

Dawgs on Twitter

Good dog

I’m pretty sure this is a gremlin.

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The post Georgia football: Who improved their draft stock at NFL combine? appeared first on DawgNation.

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