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Nearly half of Georgia’s starting defense was selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
Five Georgia defenders got taken in the first 32 picks. That’s the most first-round defensive players from a single school in NFL draft history and comes a year after five Alabama offensive players were selected in the first round of the 2021 draft.
The previous record for most defensive players from the same school in Round 1 was set by Miami in 2004 when four Hurricanes were taken in the first round. Four Florida State defenders were also taken in the first round in 2006.
Edge rusher Travon Walker led off the 2022 draft at No. 1 when he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars picked Walker over Aidan Hutchinson and others as they were enamored by Walker’s potential as a pro. Walker was a rotational edge rusher for the Bulldogs in 2021 as Georgia’s recruiting depth under coach Kirby Smart was evident up and down the roster.
Star run-stuffer Jordan Davis was the second Georgia defender off the board at No. 13 to the Philadelphia Eagles. Davis was one of the most dominant defenders in college football in 2021 with the way he clogged running lanes up the middle for offenses. Davis took a lot of breaks at Georgia with so much talent on the roster and could end up seeing more time on the field in Philadelphia in 2022 than he did in 2021 for the Bulldogs.
Quay Walker was the third Georgia defensive player selected when he went at No. 22 to the Green Bay Packers. The Packers then selected defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt at No. 28. Walker and Wyatt join former teammate Eric Stokes on the Packer defense after Stokes was a first-round pick in 2021.
The final Bulldog selected in the first round was safety Lewis Cine at No. 32 by the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings traded down from No. 12 and snagged Cine, who many thought would be gone a lot earlier in the draft. Cine should pair with Harrison Smith right away at the back of the Vikings defense.
It also wasn’t implausible that Georgia could have seen six defenders picked in the first round Thursday night too. Linebacker Nakobe Dean was widely seen as a possible first-round selection and he went undrafted Thursday night. Dean was all over the field making plays for the Bulldogs in 2021 and should be one of the first players selected in the second round on Friday night.