1 in 9 NFL draft picks played high school football in Georgia; 30 total

Roswell senior QB Malik Willis looks for a receiver in the second half of his Class AAAAAAA state title game against Grayson.

caption arrowCaption
Roswell senior QB Malik Willis looks for a receiver in the second half of his Class AAAAAAA state title game against Grayson.

One in every nine NFL draft picks this year played high school football in Georgia as the state had 30 players taken among 262 total last week in Las Vegas.

Georgia had the second-most picks nationwide behind Texas, which had 32, while outdistancing California (22), Florida (21) and Ohio (13), according to High School Football America.

The 30 is tied for the most in state history as 30 also went in the 2015 draft. Georgia had 29 players taken in 2017 but only 21 the past two years. The average number this century is 17, according to Georgia High School Football Daily research.

Cedar Grove, a DeKalb County school with four Class 3A titles over the past six seasons, had three players taken, the most of any Georgia school. They were Virginia tight end Jelani Woods, Western Kentucky linebacker DeAngelo Malone and Georgia guard Justin Shaffer. Woods was a 6-foot-7 quarterback on Cedar Grove’s 2016 championship team but changed positions in college.

Schools with two draft picks were Archer (Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth and North Carolina guard Joshua Ezeudu), Cherokee (Samford receiver Montrell Washington and UCLA running back Brittain Brown) and Marist (Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Georgia tight end John FitzPatrick).

Archer and Cherokee had never had NFL draft picks until this year. Others who were the first drafted from their schools were Travon Walker of Upson-Lee, Damarion Williams of Community Christian and Mark Robinson of Lee County.

Walker, a defensive end from Georgia picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was the second straight No. 1 overall pick from the state and the fourth in history. Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence went to the Jaguars last season. Westlake’s Cam Newton (2011) and Duluth’s George Rogers (1981) are the others.

Georgia’s production of NFL players has skyrocketed the past 20 years or so. The average number of draft picks from Georgia was 11.5 in the 1990s and 10.3 in the 1980s.

First round

1 ... DE ... Travon Walker ... Upson-Lee ... Georgia ... Jaguars

14 ... S ... Kyle Hamilton ... Marist ... Notre Dame ... Ravens

22 ... LB ... Quay Walker ... Crisp County ... Georgia ... Packers

28 ... DT ... Devonte Wyatt ... Towers ... Georgia ... Packers

Second round

42 ... CB ... Andrew Booth Jr. ... Archer ... Clemson ... Vikings

Third round

67 ... G ... Joshua Ezeudu ... Archer ... North Carolina ... Giants

73 ... TE ... Jelani Woods ... Cedar Grove ... Virginia ... Colts

82 ... OLB ... DeAngelo Malone ... Cedar Grove ... Western Kentucky ... Falcons

86 ... QB ... Malik Willis ... Roswell ... Liberty ... Titans

90 ... G ... Dylan Parham ... Carrollton ... Memphis ... Raiders

100 ... DE ... Myjai Sanders ... Camden County ... Cincinnati ... Cardinals

Fourth round

107 ... RB ... Dameon Pierce ... Bainbridge ... Florida ... Texans

133 ... P ... Jake Camarda ... Norcross ... Georgia ... Buccaneers

141 ... CB ... Damarion Williams ... Community Christian ... Houston ... Ravens

143 ... TE ... Chigoziem Okonkwo ... Hillgrove ... Maryland ... Titans

Fifth round

162 ... WR ... Montrell Washington ... Cherokee ... Samford ... Broncos

179 ... OLB ... Kingsley Enagbare ... Hapeville Charter ... South Carolina ... Packers

Sixth round

183 ... RB ... Kevin Harris ... Bradwell Institute ... South Carolina ... Patriots

190 ... G ... Justin Shaffer ... Cedar Grove ... Georgia ... Falcons

195 ... G ... Jamaree Salyer ... Pace Academy ... Georgia ... Chargers

208 ... FB ... Connor Heyward ... Peachtree Ridge ... Michigan State ... Steelers

213 ... TE ... John FitzPatrick ... Marist ... Georgia ... Falcons

215 ... G ... Lecitus Smith ... Fitzgerald ... Virginia Tech ... Cardinals

Seventh round

225 ... LB ... Mark Robinson ... Lee County ... Ole Miss ... Steelers

228 ... LB ... Tariq Carpenter ... Long County ... Georgia Tech ... Packers

231 ... LB ... Baylon Spector ... Calhoun ... Clemson ... Bills

243 ... CB ... Jaylen Watson ... Laney ... Washington State ... Chiefs

244 ... CB ... Christian Matthew ... Chattahoochee ... Valdosta State ... Cardinals

240 ... CB ... Christian Holmes ... McNair ... Oklahoma State ... Commanders

250 ... RB ... Brittain Brown ... Cherokee ... UCLA ... Raiders

About the Author

Editors' Picks