NCAA Football

How Georgia football will replace the 2023 NFL Draft

How Georgia football will replace the 2023 NFL Draft

The deadline to enter the 2023 NFL Draft is over, with the deadline to enter Monday night. Players who signed up have until Thursday night to remove their names from the process, and it’s worth noting that players like Cedric Van Praan and Led McConkey have yet to make public statements about their plans following the tragic deaths of Devin Wheelock and Chandler LeCroix.

But for the most part, we know which players will be moving on to the NFL from Georgia’s 2022 team. While the Bulldogs will not have 15 players re-drafted, a number of talented players will be playing in the NFL next season.

Below, we take a look at which players are officially leaving and who will replace their Georgia production.

Defender Stetson Bennett

Replacement: Carson Beck

Beck is the favorite to replace Bennett in the starting lineup at this point, but the quarterback battle is far from decided. Brock Vandagriff and gunner Stockton will factor into the decision to replace the Heisman finalist. Beck doesn’t have the mobility that Vandagriff or Stockton do, but the Jacksonville, Fla., native will be in his fourth season with offensive coordinator Todd Monken and has the best arm among Georgia’s returning quarterbacks.

Running back Kenny McIntosh

Replacement: Kendall Milton

Daijun Edwards plays a bigger role as a hitter, while Milton will serve as a home run hitter in Georgia’s backfield. He is also the top pass catcher in Georgia’s backfield next season. McIntosh caught 43 passes for the Bulldogs last season, in addition to leading the team in rushing. Milton finished strong, and if he can stay healthy, he should be Georgia’s top running back next season, even sharing some of the load with Edwards and rising sophomore Branson Robinson.

Wide receiver Kearis Jackson

Replacement: Arian Smith

A versatile weapon who can play both outside and in the slot, Jackson’s leadership and toughness won’t be easily replaced. Jackson was also a key special teams player for the Bulldogs. Smith finally got a chance to show what he can do this season with a career-best effort in a win over Ohio State. If he can stay healthy and develop in the offseason, it should allow him to contribute in a big way next season. If McConkey does go pro, expect Smith and Missouri to move Dominique Lovett to see more snaps alongside rising sophomore Dylan Bell.

On the subject: Arian Smith sums up his game-changing touchdown in the most Georgia football way possible

Tight end Darnell Washington

Replacement: Oscar Delp

Georgia already got a taste of life without Washington when he left the Peach Bowl with an ankle injury. Delp replaced him and drew rave reviews from both Washington and tight ends coach Todd Hartley. With Brock Bowers as Georgia’s only returning tight end, Delp has a chance to take on a starring role in the offense next season. ​​​​​​While it will be difficult to replace what Washington brought in terms of blocking, Delp has more upside as a pass catcher in this offense.

Offensive tackle Broderick Jones

Replacement: Ernest Green

We think Georgia is going to keep Amarius Mims on the right side of the offensive line, allowing Green to fill Jones’ spot at left tackle. As a freshman, Green impressed in spring drills last year, but his regular season was derailed by a back injury. Green told DawgNation at the national championship game that he’s ready for spring training, which should help him get the reps he needs to replace likely first-round pick Jones.

Offensive tackle Warren McClendon

Replacement: Amarius Mims

Probably the easiest replacement on the list. Mims started the final two games of the 2022 season at right tackle and is expected to fill in for McClendon full time in 2023. Mims can also apparently play left tackle for the Bulldogs, while Greene will move to the right side.

On the subject: Georgia State lineman Amarius Mims shares why he’s becoming an increasingly promising role

Warren Erickson Center

Replacement: Austin Blaske

Like Eriksson, Blaske has the versatility to play multiple spots on the offensive line. His best shot at playing time probably comes at center, especially with the talent Georgia is expected to bring back at the guard position. Blaske will battle with Jared Wilson for reps at center. Should Van Pran move to the NFL, it would be one of the most important position battles for Georgia.

Defensive tackle Jalen Carter

Substitute: Alexander the Bear

Alexander made a big statement in the national championship game when he finished with two tackles for loss and a sack for the Bulldogs. While he may not be able to replicate what Carter brought to the team — no player can — Alexander has a ton of upside as an interior disruptor. Carter was able to play all over Georgia’s defensive line, so no one will replace what he brought. Look for freshman Jordan Hall to possibly take over some of Carter’s situational duties at Georgia, as he should be able to play both inside and outside for the Bulldogs.

Outside midfielder Nolan Smith

Replacement: Chaz Chambliss

Smith has successfully done the dirty work for this Georgia team and expect Chambliss to do the same for the Bulldogs next season. He’s not the most athletic option for Georgia, but his versatility on defense and on special teams is something Georgia really values. Georgia could also experiment with putting Jalon Walker here, but so far the Bulldogs have only shown a desire to use him in maturity situations at the position.

Outside midfielder Robert Beale

Replacement: Marvin Jones Jr

Jones Jr. will be one of the most important players in the offseason for the Bulldogs. He has tremendous upside, but struggled with injuries during his freshman season. He’s going to play a big role for the Bulldogs this fall. Georgia did sign three outside linebackers in the 2023 recruiting cycle, with 5-star Damon Wilson in prime position to help Georgia immediately.

Cornerback Kelly Ringo

Replacement: Daylen Everett

The battle to replace Ringo should be one of the most interesting to watch this offseason. Georgia returned Kamari Lassiter to the second cornerback position, so the Bulldogs aren’t starting over like they did at the start of the 2021 season. Everett has consistently impressed the coaches this season and was the No. 3 quarterback in Georgia’s depth game this year. But expect Nyland Green, Julian Humphrey and AJ Harris to push for that starting spot. All three will tackle Everett during spring practice, with Daniel Harris and Chris Peel arriving this summer at the cornerback position.

Safety Chris Smith

Replacement: Javon Bullard

Georgia has several options to replace Smith, but no obvious candidate. Dan Jackson returns to Georgia from a foot injury for the 2022 season. David Daniel-Sisavanh got some looks in Georgia’s dime package at the end of the year. There will be high expectations for freshman safety Joenel Aguero, especially after what Malachi Starks has done this year. But we think Bullard is getting a long look at the safety position, with Tyky Smith taking some snaps at the star position in case Bullard does make a move.

On the topic: Javon Bullard shows importance of in-state recruiting for Georgia: ‘I couldn’t have dreamed this big’

Kicker Jack Podlesny

Replacement: Peyton Woodring

It will be a battle between freshman Woodring and 2020 signee Jared Zirkel for the kicker position this offseason. The fact that Woodring won’t arrive until the summer should give Zirkel a chance to impress. But Zirkel lost both shooting and pitching duties to Podlesny, and we think Woodring’s upside is something that can’t be ignored. He made a 60-yard field goal as a senior.

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