Tuesday, April 30, 2013
GT draft shutout not indictment on Johnson
By Heather Dinich
For the first time since 2005, Georgia Tech was shut out of the NFL draft. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported this week that only two players have been drafted in the past three seasons, the fewest since the 2001-2003 drafts.
Don’t panic, Georgia Tech fans, it’s not the offense.
Well, OK, maybe a little of it is, but a better explanation lies in each individual story, making this year’s shutout more of an anomaly. A few things to consider:
- Former receiver Stephen Hill would have been a senior, but he decided to leave early and was chosen in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft. Both Hill and former receiver Demaryius Thomas squashed the theory that receivers can’t get to the NFL in the spread option offense.
- A-back Orwin Smith might have been drafted, but his rehab from shoulder surgery prevented him from working out for teams.
- Linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu likely would have been drafted, but he chose to return for his final season. The same could be said for defensive back Jemea Thomas.
- It’s not the first time: Georgia Tech has also gone without any draft picks in 2001 and 1997, not to mention 1981, 1972 and 1970. In 2003, the program’s only draft pick was in the supplemental draft. Can’t blame that on Paul Johnson’s recruiting or his offense.
“I think Paul Johnson takes some unfair heat considering how many games he has won at different spots including Tech,” said ESPN recruiting guru Tom Luginbill, a former Georgia Tech quarterback. “Georgia Tech is a tough place in many ways. You will have spurts of really good periods of NFL-caliber talent and spurts without it, yet the win total with both is often not much different.”
Historically, Georgia Tech has had its share of success in the NFL draft, but much like the ACC’s success on a national level, it’s cyclical. Instead of lamenting this year’s quiet draft, Georgia Tech fans should take solace in the fact that it wouldn’t be far-fetched to see six players drafted in 2014.