17 NFL Draft picks from Georgia is the new norm; four first-rounders is exceptional

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The four former Georgia high school football players taken in the recent NFL Draft were the most since 2005 and second-most in history, according to research from the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

Georgia’s four first-rounders were Ju’Wuan James of North Gwinnett (No. 19 overall to Miami), Darqueze Dennard of Twiggs County (No. 24 to Cincinnati), Marcus Smith of Haraway (No. 26 to Philadelphia) and Brad Roby of Peachtree City (No. 31 to Denver).

The most first-round picks from Georgia was five in 2005. Those were Ronnie Brown of Cartersville (No. 2 overall), Adam “Pacman” Jones of Westlake (No. 6), Carlos Rogers of Butler (No. 9), Thomas Davis of Randolph-Clay (No. 14) and David Pollack of Shiloh (No. 17).

Photos: Georgians selected in the 2014 NFL Draft

There were 17 Georgia players taken this year overall. The average for the past five seasons has been 17.2 – a significant increase from previous decades.

From 2000 to 2009, an average of 13.5 Georgia players were drafted. From 1990 to 1999, the average was 11.6.

All of this year’s NFL Draftees from Georgia had distinguished high school careers. Thirteen of the 17 earned all-state recognition, and the other four were all-region picks.

T.J. Jones, known in high school as Tai-ler Jones, was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2009. Jemea Thomas of Fitzgerald was the 2009 Class AA defensive player of the year. Storm Johnson of Loganville was the 2009 AAAA offensive player of the year.

Dozens of other former Georgia high school players have signed, or will sign, as free agents. Those already signed include quarterback Connor Shaw of Flowery Branch (Cleveland), running back Rajion Neal of Sandy Creek (Green Bay), defensive tackle Garrison Smith of Douglass (Miami), wide receiver Deron Furr of Carver-Columbus (Kansas City), running back Isaiah Crowell of Carver-Columbus (Cleveland), defensive back Kenny Ladler of Stephenson (Buffalo) and linebacker Adrian Hubbard of Norcross (Green Bay).

About 30 percent of players on active NFL rosters were not drafted, and several who are drafted won’t make the active roster this fall.

Georgia players drafted in 2014:

RND PICK Player High School College NFL Team POS
1 19 Ju’Wuan James North Gwinnett Tennessee Dolphins OT
1 24 Darqueze Dennard Twiggs County Michigan State Bengals CB
1 26 Marcus Smith Hardaway Louisville Eagles DE
1 31 Bradley Roby Peachtree Ridge Ohio State Broncos CB
2 48 Stephon Tuitt Monroe Area Notre Dame Steelers DE
3 96 Jerrick McKinnon Sprayberry Georgia Southern Vikings RB
5 144 Telvin Smith Lowndes Florida State Jaguars LB
5 145 David Yankey Centennial Stanford Vikings G
5 172 Jimmy Staten Ware County Middle Tennessee Seahawks DT
6 178 Zach Mettenberger Oconee County LSU Titans QB
6 189 T.J. Jones Gainesville Notre Dame Lions WR
6 199 Garrett Scott Coffee Marshall Seahawks OT
6 206 Jemea Thomas Fitzgerald Georgia Tech Patriots CB
7 222 Storm Johnson Loganville Central Florida Jaguars RB
7 223 Brandon Watts Washington County Georgia Tech Vikings LB
7 232 Ulrick John Bradwell Institute Georgia State Colts OT
7 252 Lavelle Westbrooks Riverdale Georgia Southern Bengals CB


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