The Georgia Packers pipeline may be second only to the Alabama Patriots pipeline at this point. Brian Gutekunst has spent three of his last five first round picks, and additional second this year, on Georgia defensive players. Georgia is the current big kahuna in CFB so this would seem like a good strategy on its face.

The problem? Gutekunst has typically reached for athletes well above their consensus board spots and none of the Georgia picks have panned out to date. Let’s talk about them and what needs to happen next.  

Eric Stokes

The Stokes pick was very reminiscent of the Kevin King pick in a lot of ways. He was the second-best corner on the field for his team but the better athlete by far. Gutekunst couldn’t let Stokes and his 4.31 40 time get past him.

Stokes surprised in his first season with average to pretty good play, played very poorly in his second season and has basically dealt with injuries for the last year and a half. Assuming the injury problems have been fixed, Stokes still needs to get back to the man corner who was dominant at times in 2021.

The good news is that Hafley’s scheme is the way to go for a very fast man corner. Stokes will get the chance to press and use his recovery speed and shouldn’t have to spend much time in complicated match zone schemes.

Quay Walker

Walker is probably the most surprising of these picks. He was widely projected to go in the third-round until draft day when teams started leaking that he would go in the first.

Like Stokes, Walker was an incredibly impressive athlete, he had 91st percentile height and wingspan, 90th percentile 40 time and 80th percentile broad jump, all at 241 pounds. Also like Stokes, the Quay results so far have been mostly bad with a few flashes here and there.

Walker should also have a better shot in Hafley’s scheme – even De’Vondre Campbell acknowledged that fact saying that Walker is a dog who just needs to be let loose on the field. If he’s spending time thinking through match coverages and trying to make both the safeties and the front correct, he isn’t playing fast.

Devonte Wyatt

You’ll never guess what Wyatt’s profile was going into the draft. Wyatt was a part-time player on the Georgia defense who impressed at the combine with a 4.77 40 time at 304 pounds and several other marks above the 80th percentile. Say one thing for Georgia players, say they’re incredible athletes.

Wyatt profiles as a one-gapping three-technique. In Joe Barry’s defense, he was miscast as a player trying to play gap-and-a-half or two-gap, in Jeff Hafley’s defense, he should be able to pin his ears back and stop the run on the way to the passer.

Wyatt probably has the best tape of any of these three, he just hasn’t finished well. He has repeatedly beaten slower offensive guards in one-on-one situations and then missed the tackle. He will have more opportunities to win those one-on-one matchups now, but he’ll need to work on finishing as well.

Jeff Hafley and Javon Bullard

One of the more admirable parts of Matt LaFleur’s coaching is that he rarely forces players into his scheme; he makes his scheme work for his players. Apart from an Allen Lazard jet sweep here and an AJ Dillon toss run there, the offensive coaching staff tries to put players in a position to succeed. Because of this, the draft strategy of focusing on pliable athletic players works.

In Joe Barry’s defense, there were tweaks here and there to try to cater to the players, but, for the most part, it was about fitting in his match zone scheme.

In the Jeff Hafley scheme, where players should be able to play faster with less thinking, each of the three players discussed above will be more likely to reach their potential.

That brings us to Javon Bullard, interestingly, Bullard is the first Georgia pick with a some pretty bad measurements. He is under the 20th percentile in hand size, wingspan, height, and weight. He is also the first who was known for smart play in college. Don’t be shocked if Bullard is the best of the four next season already.    

Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.