How Georgia’s NFL rookies fared in 2018

(Photo: Quinn Harris, USA TODAY Sports)

The 2018 NFL Draft gave Georgia fans a taste of something they should probably get used to. Three Bulldogs were taken in the first round for the first time in school history. Six players were taken in all with four coming in the top 35 picks. There were more who got opportunities as undrafted free agents with only one of those players getting an opportunity to show what he could do on the field.

Below, Dawgs247 takes a look at how each Bulldog rookie who saw the field this season fared, including the one who is still alive in the NFL Playoffs.

RB Sony Michel (New England): We start here because Michel’s season is the long 2018 draftee out of UGA who is still playing. Michel had a fantastic rookie season. In just 13 games, seven starts, and 209 carries, he piled up 931 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He surprisingly only saw 11 targets in the passing game with seven catches and 50 yards. Those numbers are bound to go up in the future and his 4.5 yards per carry ranks him top 30 among NFL rushers. Michel and the Patriots will host the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

RB Nick Chubb (Cleveland): After being taken with the No. 35 overall pick by the Browns, Chubb wasn’t a big part of the offense for the first seven weeks. But when the organization traded Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville, Chubb jumped into the starting role at running back and never looked back. He saw action in all 16 games with just nine starts, carrying the football 192 times for 996 yards and eight scores. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry in his rookie season and according to Pro Football Focus, he was the NFL’s most effective running back in 2018.

MLB Roquan Smith (Chicago): The Bears took Smith with the No. 8 overall pick and he didn’t disappoint. He played in all 16 games with 14 starts and led the team in total tackles with 121 (89 solos). He also had five sacks, five quarterback hits, five passes defended, and eight tackles for a loss while manning the middle linebacker spot in Chicago. His team was eliminated from the playoffs in the divisional round last weekend.

OLB Lorenzo Carter (New York): After being taken in the third round by the Giants, Carter showed that he has the potential to stick in the NFL for a long time. He played in 15 games with a pair of starts, racking up 43 total tackles (30 solo). He also had four sacks, 10 quarterback hits, seven tackles for a loss and four defended passes. Carter was used by the Giants as a pass rusher more and more as the season went on, earning two of his sacks and four of his quarterback hits in the last four weeks of the season.

DL John Atkins (Detroit Lions): New England signed Atkins after the 2018 NFL Draft but he was eventually released and picked up by the Lions. He saw action in the final two games of the season where he had a pair of tackles (one solo) and a tackle for a loss. He’ll have a chance to be part of Detroit’s defensive plans going forward.

OL Isaiah Wynn (New England): The Patriots selected Wynn No. 23 overall but he was unable to see the field as a rookie because of a ruptured Achilles tendon during the preseasons. The St. Petersburg, Fla. native will be a big part of New England’s plans on the offensive line going forward.

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