published Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Bulldogs eye NFL options

Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo in action against Auburn in last week's victor
Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo in action against Auburn in last week's victor
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Georgia junior free safety Bacarri Rambo has seven interceptions this season and was named earlier this month to the All-Southeastern Conference and All-America teams.

It would be understandable if Rambo skipped his senior season and entered the 2012 NFL draft, but he has his list of reasons to stay as well.

"I have achieved a lot of individual goals like All-American and All-SEC, but I still have one or two I would like to achieve, like the Jim Thorpe [Award]," Rambo said. "I would like to be the best defensive player in the SEC, though I would have to compete with [teammate] Jarvis Jones. We won the SEC East, but we didn't win the SEC, and that's one of the goals I would like to achieve, and then there's the national championship.

"I've never had a chance to win a ring in any sports, and next year would be a great year for us. I've never won a championship, not even in peewee league."

While the Bulldogs are between on-campus and on-location practices for the Outback Bowl against Michigan State on Jan. 2, several junior players will be discussing whether to stay or go with their families. Among those facing decisions are Rambo, cornerback Sanders Commings, outside linebacker Cornelius Washington, nose John Jenkins and tight end Orson Charles.

Tackle Cordy Glenn, center Ben Jones and cornerback Brandon Boykin are Georgia's three most likely seniors to get drafted, but one NFL scouting director believes the first and second rounds in April will come and go before a Bulldogs player is selected.

"They just don't have that elite level of player," the scout said. "A.J. Green was obviously an elite player last year, as was Matthew Stafford a couple of years ago. Knowshon Moreno was a good player -- not an elite player but a very good one -- but I just don't think they have those guys. What they have, and I don't want this to sound too bad, is just typical Georgia guys.

"The offensive line doesn't have the studs like it did a decade or so ago. They have defensive linemen with some good athletic traits but with very little production, and they've got guys in their secondary who will come into the NFL and play certain roles."

Boykin or Glenn will be the first Georgia player selected, the scout said, though Charles coming out could change that. The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Charles has 44 receptions for 572 yards and five touchdowns this season.

"Last year's tight end group was one of the poorest we have seen in a long, long time, and this year it's a little bit different," the scout said. "Charles does have good size and he does have good athletic ability, but unless you have top-notch athletic ability, you are not going to go in the first round, so now you're looking for teams with a need.

"It's not a necessity position like offensive or defensive linemen. You don't have to have a tight end every year."

The 5-10, 183-pound Boykin has 48 tackles, nine tackles for loss, nine pass deflections and three interceptions. He had an 80-yard run for a touchdown against Boise State and has 34 kickoff returns for 780 yards, or 22.9 yards a return.

Boykin is the only player in SEC history with three 100-yard plays of any kind.

"He has a chance because he has a lot of other things going on," the scout said. "He could sneak into the third round because he does have talent and ball skills. He plays a money position in the NFL."

Glenn has 49 career starts, which ranks second in program history among offensive linemen. The 6-5, 348-pounder has started 13 games at left tackle after making 13 starts last year at left guard.

"He's probably going to go back to being a guard in the NFL," the scout said. "That will be his best position for a lot of teams, and I think he will be a mid-round guy. He's versatile and has a lot of experience, which are pluses for him, but he's not an upper-echelon kind of player at all."

The scout would advise Rambo and the other defensive juniors weighing decisions to play one more year in Athens.

Two players without another year left are punter Drew Butler and kicker Blair Walsh. Butler has averaged 48.1, 44.5 and 44.3 yards per punt the past three seasons and is coming off a monster showing against LSU in the SEC championship game, but it's been a different story for Walsh.

After combining to make 40 of 45 field-goal attempts as a sophomore and junior, Walsh is 19-of-31 this season. It is unlikely either will get drafted, according to the scout.

"I make it a rule never to watch kickers," he said. "I don't like watching them, and they change when they get in the league. The ball is different. It's a totally different deal.

"I've never drafted a kicker. We go out and pay for veterans."

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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