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Georgia Football

Could Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs Produce Another No. 1 Draft Pick?

January 26, 2023

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ATHENS - Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs very well could produce a No. 1 NFL Draft pick in back-to-back years. 

That would match the Bulldogs’ back-to-back national titles on the field. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper has Georgia DL Jalen Carter going No. 1 overall to the Chicago Bears in this spring’s NFL Draft. 

Carter was the lynchpin in the Bulldogs’ undefeated defense in 2022. The Florida native missed much of the middle of the season dealing with injuries. He played through injury for the start of the season, but was knocked out nearly all of October after an injury at Missouri

A season ago Georgia DL Travon Walker went No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jags. Walker ended his first year in the league with 49 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception. 

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“I thought long and hard about a trade here, with the Colts, Raiders and Panthers as the top candidates to move up for a quarterback. And if I'm Chicago general manager Ryan Poles and I can move down a few spots, add premium picks and still get my choice of the best defensive prospects, I'd make a deal. It takes two teams to make a trade, however, and that's never a guarantee. For now, let's stick with the Bears keeping this pick,” Mel Kiper, Jr. wrote on Wednesday in his first so-called mock draft of 2023. 


“Chicago's roster needs help from top to bottom, but its defense was particularly dreadful in 2022, ranking last in the league in sacks (20) and points allowed per game (27.2). It has to be D all the way for wherever the Bears make their selection. Carter, an explosive interior pass-rusher and run-stuffer, gets the nod over Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. on my Big Board. He's the best player in this draft, a Day 1 starter in the middle of this defense.”



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