The 10 best Georgia players in the NFL
Georgia has an impressive 42 former players on NFL rosters, including three first-round picks from the 2018 NFL Draft — LB Roquan Smith, OL Isaiah Wynn and RB Sony Michel.
The Bulldogs have produced some elite NFL talent over the years, and everywhere you look across the league, there’s a good chance there’s a former Georgia star making an impact.
Still, of those 42 players on NFL rosters, some are better than others. Some are future Hall of Famers, while others haven’t had much of an impact.
It’s too early to tell how Smith will fare with the Chicago Bears or how Wynn and Michel will fare with the New England Patriots, but with any luck, they’ll someday end up on a list like this.
That said, here’s a look at the 10 best players from Georgia who have at least one year of NFL experience under their belts:
10. Alec Ogletree, LB, New York Giants
Ogletree isn’t particularly great at any one thing, but he is a very solid NFL linebacker. Outside of his injury-plagued 2015 season, he’s played at least 15 games in each of his five seasons.
After leaving the Los Angeles Rams this offseason, he’ll be motivated to show his old team it made a mistake when he suits up for the Giants this fall.
9. Jordan Jenkins, LB, New York Jets
Like Leonard Floyd, Jenkins is off to a bit of a slow start in his career, but the potential is there for greatness. The Jets, after a solid 2018 draft, could finally be a team on the rise, and for that to happen, Jenkins will have to be a big part of the defense. He’ll need to improve on last year’s 3 sacks, but that is certainly possible for the talented young linebacker.
8. David Andrews, OL, New England Patriots
Andrews has a Super Bowl ring as the Patriots’ starting center — not bad for a guy who went undrafted in 2015. He is a staple along the New England line now, and after signing an extension in 2017, he should be around for a while.
7. Leonard Floyd, LB, Chicago Bears
Floyd has the potential to rise up this list in a hurry, especially if he continues to improve on his 2016 season. Last year, he recorded only 4.5 sacks in 10 games (after recording seven in 12 games as a rookie), but with Roquan Smith alongside him in Chicago now, he should be even better in 2018 and beyond.
6. Geno Atkins, DL, Cincinnati Bengals
Even though Atkins has made it to six Pro Bowls (including the past four), he’s a bit underappreciated by non-Cincinnati fans. With 61 sacks in eight seasons, he’s one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in the NFL.
The former fourth-round pick has certainly exceeded expectations from when the Bengals drafted him in 2010.
5. Thomas Davis, LB, Carolina Panthers
Davis is suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season, due to a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. However, that doesn’t do much to damper what has been a fantastic career.
Davis has been with the Panthers for 12 years, racking up 750 tackles and 28 sacks, to go with 13 interceptions and 18 forced fumbles. His career is winding down, but he’ll be remembered in Carolina for a long time.
4. Justin Houston, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
Houston is one of the NFL’s best sack artists when he’s healthy. In fact, back in 2014, he recorded an impressive 22 sacks in 16 games.
In his seven-year career, he’s compiled 69.5 sacks, and if he can stay healthy in 2018, he should have another big year. In 2017, he had 9.5 sacks, so the 29-year-old pass rusher is still on top of his game.
3. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Stafford lacks playoff success, but he is one of the best passers in the NFL. For seven consecutive seasons, he’s thrown for at least 4,000 yards, and in 2011, he threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Now the owner of the third-largest contract in the NFL (after Jimmy Garoppolo and Kirk Cousins passed him this offseason), Stafford isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and he should continue to put up big numbers.
2. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Green has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark six times in seven seasons, with the only hiccup coming in 2016, when he only appeared in 10 games due to injury. That year, he still managed to put up 964 yards.
The Bengals’ star is in the conversation with Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones and Antonio Brown for the best receiver in the NFL. There’s no reason to think he’ll slow down anytime soon, either.
1. Todd Gurley II, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Coming off a season in which he put up 2,093 total yards (1,305 rushing and 788 receiving) and 19 total touchdowns, this one is a no-brainer. Gurley also took home the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award, so he’s just now hitting his stride.
Gurley should have another huge year in 2018 as the Rams continue to become serious contenders in the NFC. He’s the best dual-threat running back in the NFL (though Alvin Kamara is closing the gap) and should have a few more productive seasons ahead of him.