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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #15 Georgia

by DJ Boyer on Aug. 11, 2017

#15 Georgia Bulldogs

2016 Recap:
Georgia went 8-5 during 2016 in a season that seemed be a bit of a letdown for the current campaign. On the flip side,enough of the younger players made contributions that it was enough to give die hard fans optimism for the upcoming season.


Coaching:
Kirby Smart stepped out of the shadows running the defense in Alabama and had his first chance to become a head coach. Admittedly there were a few missteps but overall Georgia has ther talent to compete.

 

Offense

Georgia finished a disappointing 11th in the conference in scoring at 24.5 PPG...the lowest offensive output in 15 seasons. The running game has great weapons in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of whom should be taken in the first three rounds of their respective drafts. Chubb and Michel combined for 1,970 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2016. The issue was offensive imbalance and breaking in a new and taleneted quarterback in Jacob Eason. Eason has all new starting wideouts but he will lean heavily on a pair of reliable tight end targets in Jeb Blazevich and Isaac Nauta. Isaiah Wynn has come a long way at left tackle and can be among the SEC elite if he is able to get through his bouts of inconsistency.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Isaac Nauta TE 2nd Round 2020.

                                       Nick Chubb RB 1st/2nd Round 2018.


Defense

Georgia returns a whopping 11 starters from last season squad, one that ranked 16th nationally in total defense. The defense needs to excel in the same area they stood out i during 2016...creating turnovers. Georgia ended the year at +8 which was 2nd in the SEC in turnover ratio. With offensive struggles, creating points off the defense and giving the offense a shorter field to work with was usually enough to get a low scoring and hard fought victory. Trenton Thompson looks like he is ready for a breakout campaign. Thompson could be the premier defensive tackle in the SEC and will be a beast at the next level. With Georgia employing a 3-4 he lines up as an end in most poackages with the Bulldogs and is a devastating run stuffer with an explosive first step. Lorenzo Carter paces a linebacker corps that returns 239 total tackles between the four starters.

Best Draft Prospects: Trenton Thompson DT 1st Round 2018 (Early Declaration Candidate).               

                                       Lorenzo Carter LB 4th Round 2019.


Special Teams:

The kicker and punter positions have yet to be set as battles are raging at both positions at the time this article was written. The same can be said for the return spots with Isaiah McKenzie moving on. Regardless of who returns kickoffs and punts defending them has to improve. Georgia was near in the bottom of the conference in special teams defense in 2016.


Schedule:

The season opens with Appalaichian State which could be a tough game. Everyone remembers App Stats knocking off Michigan a few years ago and last season they took Tennessee to overtime to open the season, this is far from a gimmie victory. Things won't get easier as a trip to South Bend against the Fighting Irish awaits in week 2. Georgia will avoid Alabama and LSU but Auburn and Florida are both road games meaning the SEC schedule will be tough as always.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

Georgia has a lot of potential draft picks lin ed up for the next 2-3 years, even backups at a few positions will get NFL looks because the roster is deep. Kirby Smart starts year 2 of the regime and year 1 had it's share of ups and downs so an overall sense for assessment is hard to gage right now. Georgia gets a high rankings because they had a number of young players contribute last season and the individual talent is right there with any team in the conference.

 

DJ Boyer