ATHENS — A run on Bulldogs late in the third round Friday gave Georgia a school record six players drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft.
Eight is the most draftees Georgia has ever produced in a seven-round draft, which it did in 2013 and 2002. The Bulldogs will have a chance to surpass that when the draft resumes Saturday with the last four rounds.
After Eric Stokes was the only UGA player taken late in the first round Thursday, Tyson Campbell, Azeez Ojulari, Monty Rice, Ben Cleveland and Tre' McKitty all heard their names called during Friday's two rounds. And the way Bulldogs were coming off the board there at the end, there might've been more had the third round not concluded at almost 11:45 p.m. Rice (92nd, Titans) and Cleveland (94th, Ravens) and McKitty (97th, Chargers) all came off the board within six picks of each other late in the third round. Including compensatory picks, there were 105 players selected in the first three rounds.
The seven-round draft will resume at noon Saturday when the fourth round commences.
If it's anything like Friday, Georgia fans should be tuned in and locked in from the beginning. Campbell was first off the board as soon the second round got under way, mere minutes into the draft round.
With six selections in the first three rounds, the Bulldogs are in good position to surpass the seven picks they posted in both 2019 and 2020. Georgia had only three selections at this point last year and only two after the first three rounds in 2019.
Reigning national champion Alabama was leading all programs with a record eight selections, each in the first two rounds.
Georgia's Campbell and Ojulari going in the second round wasn't much of a surprise. Both were considered serious threats to go in the first round. In fact, ESPN said there was only a 14% chance that Ojulari would have to wait as long as he did, which was until the 18th pick of the second round.
But then there wasn't another Bulldogs summoned until 11:02 p.m. when the Chargers selected Rice. The 6-foot, 233-pound senior was all over the board in mock drafts, but few had him coming off before the third day.
Likewise, Cleveland was hard to peg. But handicappers predicted it would be hard for teams to pass up the guard's 6-6, 354-pound frame.
McKitty was a major surprise from the standpoint that he did not have great production in his one season as a tight end with the Bulldogs. A transfer from FSU, where he had 50 catches in the three seasons, McKitty caught only six passes 108 yards and touchdown in a season shortened to seven games because of injury and opting out of the bowl game. But he maintained that his game had actually advanced with improved blocking and learning Todd Monken's offensive system.