Paul Finebaum believes Kirby Smart found 'very clever' way to take a shot at Dabo Swinney during SEC's record-breaking NFL Draft
Another NFL Draft has come and gone and the main takeaway, at least from a college standpoint, remains the same — the SEC had another dominating showing.
The SEC set several common era draft records over the weekend including the most first-round selections in a draft (15) the most selections in the first two rounds (25) and the most selections after the first three rounds (40). In total, the SEC has 63 selections during the 2020 NFL Draft.
Following the SEC’s record-setting first round on Thursday night, Kirby Smart made an appearance on “The Paul Finebaum Show” to discuss the event and Georgia’s coach took the opportunity to share an interesting comment with Finebaum.
According to Smart, despite the SEC continuing to prove it produces elite NFL talent on an annual basis, there are some recruiters out there selling high school prospects that it’s easier to reach the NFL by taking an easy path outside the nation’s toughest football conference.
“It’s a great sales pitch but what gets me, Paul, you probably – well, let me rephrase that – you probably would believe it, but you wouldn’t believe what some coaches outside our conference tell kids,” Smart said to Finebaum. “They’ll sell to a kid it’s better to not go to the SEC because it’s too tough. It’s too competitive, it’s too physical, you might get beat up, you might get banged up you might not have as good a career there that you go somewhere else.
“Well, that’s not the way the NFL GMs are looking at it, and that’s not the way the NFL coaches are looking at it. They want to take kids that want to compete at the highest level they want to go play in the big-time matchups, and that’s what the kids want. They want to go play in the biggest games in the biggest places. And that’s what they aspire to do. So, for a coach and maybe another conference the sale that, ‘Hey, it might be a little easier path to come over here and go this way.’ No, it just speaks volumes, you want kids to be able to see through that.”
So who exactly was Smart calling out there?
While clearly noting it was just his opinion, Paul Finebaum believes Kirby was calling out Dabo Swinney.
Here’s what the SEC Network host had to say during his most recent weekly appearance on Birmingham-based 94.5 FM radio show “The Roundtable” on Monday morning.
“This is an opinion, let me make that clear, but yes – it was a shot at Dabo Swinney,” Finebaum said. “And as [Kirby Smart] was saying it, I thought it was pretty obvious that it was because he was talking about recruiting and I’d have to go look at the transcript, but it left no doubt, he was talking about Dabo Swinney because of the proximity in the recruiting battles.
“If there’s no one else that could be in consideration because Ohio State would not be doing that, based on their recruiting prowess. And I really, you know, if you go outside the SEC, who else really matters? Clemson is the only threat to Georgia outside the SEC, for most players. So, I don’t think he really left much to the imagination and it was toward the end of the interview and he had to go do another interview, otherwise, I may have tried to, you know, be a pesky reporter but that’s who I thought he was talking about. Absolutely.”
Finebaum wasn’t done there, however, as he then offered up the following comment when discussing Smart’s perceived shot at Clemson’s coach.
“I was really blown away by the statement and he almost seemed to indicate as he started to say that I wouldn’t be surprised, although I was surprised,” Finebaum continued. “And we had Gene Chizik on not long after that and I asked him about it, he struggled to understand where Kirby was going but I think it was pretty obvious Kirby was just taking a shot and he found a very clever way to do it.”
Keep in mind, all these comments come not long after five-star lineman and the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect Korey Foreman decommitted from Clemson.
Who else is recruiting Foreman? Kirby Smart and Georgia along with Alabama and LSU among many others.