ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum names Georgia as top college football program after NFL Draft success
May 3, 2022
Paul Finebaum of ESPN stated that Georgia is the faculty football program's new prime program following the 2022 NFL Draft, which saw the program produce a record-setting 15 selections. The program is also one of the most likely to win the national title in 2022. It's been built on the strength of its recruiting courses, which are regarded as some of the most influential in the nation during the tenure of head coach Kirby Smart.
According to Finebaum, the success of the NFL Draft on Thursday was the culmination of the program's success under Smart. It confirmed what everyone already knew: Georgia is a program that can compete for championships. Aside from the 15 players selected, the program also has a lot of talent coming in the form of players such as Jermaine Johnson, Cade May, and Justin Fields.
It’s been a remarkable year for Smart, and Finebaum thinks people will start giving him credit for what he's done as a coach and a builder.
"What Thursday really was, ended up being the final cherry on top of the cake for Kirby Smart and Georgia," Finebaum said. "I mean, it was a defining moment for Georgia's program — as the national championship was — but this confirmed it. And you can start throwing other players in, whether it's (Jermaine) Johnson or Cade May or Justin Fields and think about the amount of talent and what's ahead, what has gone through the turnstiles in Athens."
It isn't up for debate that Georgia has the best football program. According to Finebaum, the only program that can compete with the Gonzaga is Alabama. However, the Crimson Tide only have two picks in the first two draft rounds this year.
"But it's hard to argue, after this past weekend, that Georgia doesn't have the best overall program in the country — and I'm not talking about a moment in time, the winner of the championship," Finebaum continued. "Too often, we do that. I'm talking about — look at who has the best program in college football right now. You can make an argument it's the University of Georgia. And only Alabama, Greg, can have a 'down' draft when they only have two in the first in an X number of years and still have more than half the conferences in college football."
Georgia pushes forward
Following the success of the NFL Draft, Georgia was able to sign the nation's third-highest rated class in the 2022 cycle, according to reports.
Smart said that it took a lot of work and organization to successfully recruit the next Jordan Davis or George Pickens during the spring. He referred to these two types of players as his two biggest targets.
One of the most prominent factors that have helped Georgia's success is its open-door policy, allowing NFL teams to watch the players. According to Smart, this allows his players to be evaluated and put their best foot forward.
"We're one of the few schools in the country where we're open to NFL teams whenever they can come, they can watch our players," the 46-year-old head coach said. "A lot of coaches aren't comfortable with that, but for us we want our players to get seen, get evaluated and be able to put their best out there. I think that has helped our guys be comfortable in front of NFL personnel because it's not the first time they've done it."