Georgia football: Isaac Nauta should enter the 2019 NFL Draft

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 1: Isaac Nauta #18 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with a catch for a second half touchdown against the Austin Peay Governors on September 1, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 1: Isaac Nauta #18 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with a catch for a second half touchdown against the Austin Peay Governors on September 1, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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One of the Georgia football players eligible to leave early for the NFL Draft is tight end Isaac Nauta. The Buford native is yet to announce his decision, likely waiting until after the Sugar Bowl.

Out of the 22 juniors on the 2018 Georgia football team, there are five who fans are waiting on to make their decisions regarding the upcoming NFL Draft. Of those five, is tight end Isaac Nauta, a former five-star recruit and one of the first players to commit to Georgia after the school hired Kirby Smart as head coach.

Nauta is singled out on that short list because he may be the most NFL ready player on Georgia’s entire squad. He’s certainly the most NFL ready player of all the juniors. That’s why the questions about Nauta are less about “will he stay?” and more about “should he stay?”

What’s so special about Isaac Nauta? In three seasons, he has 902 receiving yards and eight touchdowns with 67 receptions. He’s finishing the best year of his career in Athens 29 catches this season for 427 yards and three scores. A huge leap from 2017 when he had a mere nine receptions for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

But NFL scouts aren’t worried about statistics, it is potential they care more about, and Nauta has a ton of it. It’s why 247 Sports rated him as a five-star out of high school. He’s the last tight end to receive a five-star rating from 247, was the first since O.J. Howard in 2013 and just the fourth this decade. When a tight end is a five-star prospect, you should pay attention.

Nauta earned his recruiting rating and attention from NFL scouts because he’s the most athletic and dynamic 240-pounder you’ll ever watch. And because of Georgia’s top-notch coaching staff, he’s now a good pass catcher and an excellent blocker.

Most big tight ends are just extra offensive linemen, who stick to running physical or delayed routes. Not Nauta. He’s a lot faster and more agile than he looks, opening up more of the route tree than other tight ends his size. He’s turns that speed and agility into elusiveness once he catches the ball. Nauta is a big play threat, difficult to tackle in open field from any angle.

As Georgia fans already saying “maybe next year” after falling short against Alabama, we want Nauta to stay in Athens for one more year. And he very well might. Before the SEC Championship Game, Nauta said “we don’t forget” when questioned after practice about the rematch from the National Championship Game. Through that interview, you can tell that Nauta wanted the championships, and that want might be enough for him to decide to stay in school one more year.

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But the topic isn’t about our wants or feelings as fans, it’s about what’s best for Nauta. What’s best is a lengthy NFL career, that’s something he’s already physically ready for. He has the size and blocking ability run-first NFL teams want. But he also has the athleticism and receiving skills that pass-first teams want. There probably isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t consider Nauta in the 2019 draft.