This won’t be surprising to those among us who follow college football. Still, it’s jarring to see in megapixeled black and white. Both Georgia Tech and Georgia rank among the nation’s biggest losers regarding early entry to the NFL draft.
For the Bulldogs, there’s good news amid the bad. Tech is seen as having been hit harder, and Florida is the consensus choice as having been hit hardest.
Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com rates Tech the second-biggest loser, Georgia the fifth-biggest. His reasons:
“Georgia Tech: I was tempted to make the Jackets No. 1 on this list because every player who realistically could consider declaring did. Tech says goodbye to its two best defenders in DE Derrick Morgan and safety Morgan Burnett as well as quarterback Josh Nesbitt’s top two weapons, running back Jonathan Dwyer and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
“I still think Nesbitt, RB Anthony Allen and RB Roddy Jones are big-time players, but the offense takes a huge hit, especially when you consider that Thomas accounted for about two-thirds of the team’s receiving yards this past season. Meanwhile, Morgan had half the team’s 25 sacks.
“Tech could’ve been a preseason top five or six. Now I think it might not be in the top 20 …
“Georgia: The Dawgs’ defense has been really shaky the past few seasons and is in rebuilding mode. A new defensive coordinator is coming from the Dallas Cowboys (Todd Grantham), but he’ll have to retool Georgia’s scheme without the team’s two leading tacklers, LB Rennie Curran and safety Reshad Jones. Curran, a fireplug, had 130 tackles last season, while Jones, who put on a dazzling show against rival Georgia Tech, also picked off four passes this past season.”
Stewart Mandel of SI.com sees it pretty much the same. He has Florida first among his list of four losers, with Tech second and Georgia fourth. His comments:
“Georgia Tech: The defending ACC champs had a chance to return a staggering 19 starters, but leading rusher Jonathan Dwyer, leading receiver Demaryius Thomas, second-leading tackler Morgan Burnett and ACC sacks leader Derrick Morgan all turned pro. The Jackets’ running game should be fine with Josh Nesbitt and Anthony Allen, but Thomas was their lone receiving threat, Morgan and Burnett their best defenders …
Georgia: The Bulldogs’ defense struggled in 2009, costing coordinator Willie Martinez his job. New coordinator Todd Grantham would have inherited a depleted unit regardless, but his job wasn’t made any easier by the defection of Georgia’s two best juniors, linebacker Rennie Curran and safety Reshad Jones. The defense will now return just four starters.“
My take: Just because they fall under the same heading doesn’t mean all losers are equal. Georgia lost two good players. Tech lost four of its five best players. Tech got hit way harder. Way harder, I say.