UGA could have another big draft in 2014

ATHENS, Ga. -- Fourteen former Georgia players punched their ticket into professional football over the last few days, as eight Bulldogs were picked in the NFL draft and six more signed as free agents.

The eight selections -- linebacker Jarvis Jones (Pittsburgh), linebacker Alec Ogletree (St. Louis), defensive lineman John Jenkins (New Orleans), safety Shawn Williams (Cincinnati), receiver Tavarres King (Denver), cornerback Sanders Commings (Kansas City), defensive end Cornelius Washington (Chicago) and safety Bacarri Rambo (Washington) -- tied the program record for the most in one year.

Add in the free agent deals for receiver Marlon Brown (Houston), nose guard Kwame Geathers (San Diego), linebacker Michael Gilliard (St. Louis), defensive end Abry Jones (Jacksonville), linebacker Christian Robinson (St. Louis) and cornerback Branden Smith (Tampa Bay), and Georgia will be among the best-represented college programs in the NFL rookie camps that will take place over the next couple of weeks.

The numerous NFL departures naturally lead us to begin looking toward next year and how it might shape up for Bulldogs in the draft. Although this will be a smaller group of rising seniors than the ones who are now beginning their professional careers, the number of UGA draft picks in 2014 still could rank among the top college programs.

Among Georgia seniors who are most likely to be picked:

1. Quarterback Aaron Murray: Murray might have been a valuable prospect in the 2013 draft, because of this year’s underwhelming quarterback draft class. He still figures to rank among the top players at his position in the 2014 class, though, particularly if he posts another season with 3,000-plus passing yards and etches his name atop the SEC passing record book, as expected. He’ll have to contend with quarterbacks like Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd for top billing, but a big senior season would keep him in the conversation among the best players at the position.