Georgia football: 2 big winners and losers of the 2022 NFL Draft

Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Georgia Football, Jamaree Salyer
Jamaree Salyer reacts after a touchdown in the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Loser: The Georgia football players’ size and health concern debacle

The words undersized, too short, and poor measurables should all be taken with a grain of salt when discussing the NFL Draft — especially Georgia football players.

Those words are our first loser of the 2022 NFL Draft because size doesn’t always matter. It has for some things in the past, but height isn’t going to make or break someone as a football player.

Nakobe Dean and Jamaree Salyer were two guys that didn’t have “ideal” measurables, so they dropped in the NFL Draft. For Dean, his size was an issue when drafting him along with his alleged health concerns.

The strain and opting out of surgery debacle was just incredibly distasteful. Those things come up in the draft and I’m not calling it distasteful because it’s about a Georgia player, but because it seems like it wasn’t true at all. Sure he was injured after the season, but it wasn’t as serious as the networks suggested.

Dean came out after he got selected and said that he would be at camp next week ready to go and that none of the doctors said he needed surgery. So why would so many experts suggest that he did? And why would teams believe those rumors? Honestly, those kinds of things need to stay behind closed doors unless the player discloses them or gives consent.

Sure it’s a business, but when it’s false and then those rumors cost a kid a lot of money, it isn’t okay. Between these rumors and his size, Dean got the short end of the stick.

Salyer was the other player who got told he is too short to play tackle and possibly even guard in the NFL. That young man was the best Georgia football offensive lineman, and it didn’t matter where he played, guard or tackle. Salyer didn’t give up many if any, sacks.

He also manhandled the No.2 overall player in the draft and made Aiden Hutchinson look like he had no clue what he was doing.

Dean showed flashes of another extremely talented linebacker that came out of Georgia in Roquan Smith. They were of similar size, and Smith went in the first round, but teams turned up their noses because Dean was under 6-foot.

Both guys have massive chips on their shoulders and will prove many people wrong and make the 31 other NFL teams regret not drafting them, but they shouldn’t have to. The false narrative that height and specific measurables matter more than what a player can physically do on the field is old.

Not every linebacker will be 6-3 or taller and weigh 250-pounds.

Smith was 6-1 and 220-pounds out of college, give or take a few mounds and inches. Dean isn’t that much shorter than him, and both players won the Butkus Award. Plus, Dean won it doing less than other linebackers who had better stats, but his leadership and style of play helped him win.

There are a lot of offensive linemen that are 6-5 or taller and 300-plus pounds, but that doesn’t mean all of them will be. David Andrews is 6-3, and yes, he plays center and can be on the shorter side. That doesn’t change anything. Sure, Salyer played left tackle a lot in college. He also played guard and excelled at it. However, his size was an issue.

If these scouts watched the film on both Salyer and Dean, why did those measurables matter so much? Other short players proved people wrong, but these two couldn’t get people to budge.

The joke is on those 31 other teams because Salyer and Dean are future All-Pro football players who will bring the Chargers and Eagles a lot of success.