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March 21, 2013

Georgia draft hopefuls set to test for NFL scouts

ATHENS — NFL scouts and coaches are set to preview what is expected to be Georgia’s biggest NFL draft class in school history.

Possible first-round picks Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and Jonathan Jenkins will headline a large group of draft hopefuls who will be tested on Georgia’s pro day on Thursday.

Georgia could have 10 or more players selected in next month’s NFL draft. It had a school-record eight players drafted in 2002.

Jones, Ogletree and Jenkins were defensive starters. Georgia’s most recent first-round picks — receiver A.J. Green in 2011 and quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno in 2009 — were offensive stars. The last Georgia defensive player to be drafted in the first or second round was cornerback Tim Jennings, a second-round pick in 2006. In 2005, Georgia safety Thomas Davis and defensive end David Pollack were first-round picks.

“It has been quite a while,” said Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. “Those are the complete players. When you’re a first-round guy you’ve got the size and measurements for a position but you’ve also got the production from a position. I’m really excited for those guys.”

Big draft classes are the norm for Georgia, which had 35 players on NFL opening day rosters in 2012 — tied for the fourth-most of any school. Georgia had seven players drafted last year.

Jones, an outside linebacker, and Ogletree, an inside linebacker, bypassed their senior seasons to enter the draft.

Jones recently dropped from the top spot on ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.’s list of top players available for the draft. Jones has had to answer questions about a neck injury he suffered when he began his career at Southern Cal before transferring to Georgia.

Jones played two seasons at Georgia with no recurrence of the injury. He led Georgia with 14 1/2 sacks last season.

Ogletree, who was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season, had a DUI arrest before last month’s NFL combine. Despite missing the four games, he led Georgia with 111 tackles.

Jenkins (6-3, 351) has ideal size to play nosetackle in a 3-4 scheme.

Other members of the 2012 defense who will be working out for scouts are safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, cornerbacks Sanders Commings and Branden Smith, defensive linemen Abry Jones, Kwame Geathers and Cornelius Washington, and linebackers Christian Robinson and Michael Gilliard.

Wide receivers Tavarres King and Marlon Brown are Georgia’s most prominent offensive players in the draft.

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