See how this year's NFL Draft QBs have done against the Championship Dawgs.
Through the last two seasons, Georgia is 29-1.
Their offense, led by Stetson Bennett, has certainly done an impressive job. Bennett gets little to no love for being an NFL Prospect due to his age, size, and overall skillset. However, he has proven to be a mental giant. I still don't think he is going to get drafted in the top half of the draft, but I am very impressed by his numbers. That being said, this article will not be about offense as much as it is about defense. We will talk about all of the other QBs in this draft class and just how nasty the Dawgs treated them when they met.
The stats in that graphic are pretty ridiculous. To put the QBR (which is actually less than 60) into terms, Arkansas QB posted a 59.4 vs Georgia in 2021. He had 0 TD passes, only 65 yards, and was sacked 4 times. Between the last two seasons, the Dawgs have totaled 76 sacks and 26 interceptions to just 21 touchdown passes. They have been the closest thing to an NFL defense that any college QB has faced. Quite literally.
The 2021 National Champs saw 5 men drafted in the 1st Round of the 2022 Draft:
#1 Travon Walker EDGE
#13 Jordan Davis DT
#22 Quay Walker LB
#28 Devonte Wyatt DT
#32 Lews Cine S
The 2022 National Champs have at least 3 1st Round potentials: Jalen Carter DT
Nolan Smith EDGE
Kelce Ringo CB
When I think about the status of a 1st Round Draft Pick, I think about someone with strong potential to start as a Rookie, meaning they were NFL caliber players through their last year in college. I think that is what the story tells from the last two seasons in Athens.
Speaking of 1st Rounders, one of the leading questions going into the NFL Draft is "How many quarterbacks will go in the first round?". My short answer, with a much longer article coming in a few weeks, is three.
A fun question to digest in this moment: How did the 2023 NFL QB Class do against Georgia?
Another short answer: not good...with two exceptions.
Before we get to the exceptions, let's talk about the stinkers. Here are all of the QBs who will get drafted in 2023 and have played Georgia in the last two seasons:
CJ Stroud Hendon Hooker
Bo Nix has elected to go back to Oregon for another season, but I wanted to talk about him because he has been very high on my list over the last few months. In fact, in my QB Rankings at the end of November, I had Nix at #2 in this class. The Ohio State fans lost their minds on my Instagram post. We will get to their guy, who sure proved me wrong, later in this article.
Nix played against Georgia this year for Oregon and last year for Auburn. Neither outing went well. At all.
2021 Lost 34-10 55% Completion 0 TDs 1 INT 38.7 QBR 4 SACKS
2022 Lost 49-3 57% Completion 0 TDs 2 INTs 58.7 QBR 0 SACKS
Nix was one of four QBs who played Georgia in each of the last two seasons. Here is how the others did:
2021 Lost 34-7 60% Completion 0 TDs 2 INTs 44.0 QBR 2 SACKS
2022 Lost 42-20 49% Completion 1 TD 0 INT 45.1 QBR 3 SACKS
2021 Lost 30-13 76% Completion 2 TDs 0 INTs 85.9 QBR 3 SACKS
2022 Lost 16-6. 65% Completion 1 TD 1 INT 84.3 QBR 1 SACK
2021 Lost 41-17 65% Completion 1 TD 1 INT 70.5 QBR 5 SACKS
2022 Lost 27-13 70% Completion 0 TD 1 INT 53.2 QBR 6 SACKS
Obviously, Max Duggan did not have a good night last night.
Lost 65-7 64% Completion 0 TD 2 INT 49.2 QBR 5 SACKS
I have been a huge fan of Duggan all year, but I knew he was in trouble when I watched the Kirby Smart interview after Georgia snuck a win away from Ohio State in the first round of the College Football Playoffs. He was clearly upset with how his team had played. He ensured they would be much better in their next game. I believed him.
You've seen the average QB output and the stat lines from a handful of the best QBs college football had to offer this year. It was not pretty. However, there was one exception that, for good reason, stunned me to my core. CJ Stroud dominated the best defense in college football. I had Stroud on my Top 5 list in September and October, but a dismal November pushed him to #6 for me. He had failed his greatest test by getting handled by Michigan at home. I knew how good Georgia's defense was, so I was expecting him to do just as bad or worse than all of the other QBs I mentioned in this article so far.
He completed 67.6% of his passes. In Georgia's last 30 games, that ranks 4th.
He threw 4 TD passes. That ranks 1st.
He had a QBR of 94.1. That ranks 2nd.
He led the Buckeyes to score 41 points. No team scored more in this span.
He threw 0 INTs. Only 10 other QBs can say they faced UG and didn't get picked in the last two seasons. In my opinion, he had the best performance out of any QB in any Bowl Games/College Football Playoffs.
CJ Stroud desperately needed to put good tape out there before the draft, and he got an A+ on the hardest test imaginable. Mad respect.
**I posted this on IG after the first round of CFP**
Bryce Young actually never played Georgia in 2022, but he played them twice in 2021. It is a debate for the analysts as to which defense was better between the two seasons. Both were dominate to say the least.
Alabama handed Georgia their only loss in the 2021 SEC Championship. Heisman Trophy Winner Bryce Young was making his last case for that award, and it was a strong one. He launched 3 TDs and ran one in himself. The Dawgs couldn't sack him even once. He had a QBR of 98.1, which was the best QBR in the two year span. The Crimson Tide also scored 41 points in this contest, winning 41-24 to claim the conference title.
However, the 2021 Dawgs got the last laugh, as they faced Alabama again in the National Championship. They figured out how to handle Bryce Young in that matchup, sacking him four times and picking him off twice. Georgia won 33-18.
At this time last year, we were already talking about all the holes Georgia had to fill. How can a team see 5 NFL caliber players leave their defense and maintain greatness? Apparently, Kirby Smart knows what he is doing. More of those Dawg Defenders are heading to the draft, but more are sitting back, waiting to get their names in the headlines.