The Georgia Bulldogs are currently the back-to-back National Champions. With a dominant defense in the 2022 title-winning campaign, 15 players were selected and this year. In this year’s draft, ten players were selected. In total 25 players were drafted from the roster that won the first National Championship for the University of Georgia since 1981. How many players did the Atlanta Falcons draft from that roster? One, guard Justin Shaffer, in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Even though Sanford Stadium is roughly 71 miles away from the home of the Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot acknowledged the fact the University of Georgia produces high-level talent.
“It’s good players from the Georgia Bulldogs here, but there’s also a lot of good players in Georgia,” Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said in March.
For the ‘Dawg Delegation’ within the Falcons’ fan base, that quote told you all you needed to know. As the great Paul Harvey once said, ‘And now…for the rest of the story.’
The Falcons were rumored to be in the mix for at least FOUR Georgia players: defensive lineman Jalen Carter, edge rusher Nolan Smith, running back Kenny McIntosh, and tight end Darnell Washington. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Carter with the ninth pick, Smith with the 30th pick and cornerback Kelee Ringo (the hero from the 2022 National Championship game) 105th overall. Washington was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round (93rd overall) and McIntosh was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 7th round (237th overall).
Moreover, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman pulled off a trade which sees Philadelphia native D’Andre Swift suit up for the Eagles next season. Last year’s selections of Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean also gave Georgia fans a reason to celebrate. However, these recent moves have prompted ‘Dawg fans to question their fanhood of other teams … especially the ‘Dawg delegation within the Atlanta Falcons fanbase.
“I’m sure I’m out of the Florida alumni association as we speak,” Roseman said.
The moves by the Eagles have led fans to declare that the pipeline from Athens to Philadelphia has been built. Furthermore, there should be hedges growing along the sidelines at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the reigning NFC champions.
As for the Falcons, a team with aspirations to compete for an NFC South title, didn’t draft Carter with the eighth pick, instead they opted for Bijan Robinson. Sure, the Falcons signed Calais Campbell, David Onyemata and Eddie Goldman returned from retirement, but none of those players would be considered long-term solutions. Atlanta had 21 sacks in seventeen games, ranking 31st in the NFL. The decision to draft Robinson over Carter will be debated viciously throughout the upcoming season.
Nolan Smith was a proven leader for the Georgia Bulldogs. In 2021, Smith played in 14 of 15 games, starting in all 14. He finished with 56 total tackles, tallied 9.0 tackles for lost yardage (3.5 of those coming on QB sacks), along with 27 QB pressures. Before an injury ended his 2022 campaign, Smith had 14 tackles and three sacks. Surely, Smith could help with pass rush, while defending running backs and tight ends.
At this rate, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart might be the Director of Scouting for the Philadelphia Eagles. Moreover, these draft choices were made with the future in mind, not the present. Nakobe Dean featured mostly on special teams while Jordan Davis played on a rotational basis in 2022. Expect more from Dean and Davis in 2023.
When Howie Roseman drafted Nolan Smith he admitted to him, “I’m a Florida Gator, do you know how much this hurts my soul to take all these f***ing Georgia Bulldogs?”
Smith responded by saying,“Hell yeah. You want to win though, you want to win!”
Congratulations to the newest Broad Street Bulldogs!
As for Falcons fans questioning the supposed beef between management and the ‘Dawgs, one has to wonder, ‘if these guys are good enough for the reigning NFC champions, they also should be good enough for us? Right?’
In the words of Paul Harvey, ‘Now you know…the rest of the story!’