When Baltimore wide receiver Marlon Brown was back in Athens to take spring semester classes, former Georgia teammates who hope to get selected later this week in the NFL draft asked him about his experience last year.
‚ÄúSome of those guys came to me and asked me how I felt when I didn‚Äôt get drafted,‚Äù Brown said. ‚ÄúI was like, `You‚Äôve got to keep your head up at the end of the day. If somebody picks you up and gives you an opportunity, you‚Äôve got to make the most of your opportunity.‚Äô‚Äù
Brown made the most of his opportunity after signing with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.
The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Brown had 49 catches for 524 yards and a rookie-franchise tying seven touchdowns.
He wasn‚Äôt one of the eight Georgia players in 2013 to be drafted, which tied a program-record.
Brown was bypassed after suffering a torn ACL in November of 2012, ending his college career.
This year, quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Arthur Lynch from Georgia are both expected to be selected during the three-day draft that runs Thursday through Saturday.
They were the only two Georgia players among the more than 300 invited to the NFL combine.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said he didn‚Äôt expect anybody else from Georgia to get drafted. Rob Rang, senior analyst from NFLDraftScout.com, said those are the only two from Georgia viewed as draft-worthy by that website‚Äôs evaluators.
If it‚Äôs just Murray and Lynch taken, that would be the fewest Bulldogs selected since there were two in the 2000 NFL draft.
That could be matched or surpassed by former Georgia players who finished their college careers elsewhere in LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Alabama State running back Isaiah Crowell and maybe even Towson cornerback Jordan Love.
Georgia‚Äôs small number expected to be drafted is impacted not only by players who had to leave the program, but by the Bulldogs not losing any underclassmen to this year‚Äôs draft.
The first round is Thursday night with rounds two and three on Friday night. Rounds four to seven are Saturday.
Defensive lineman Garrison Smith and offensive linemen Kenarious Gates, Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee and receiver Rantatvious Wooten are late-round hopefuls.
‚ÄúI did everything that I could do,‚Äù Wooten said after Georgia‚Äôs Pro Day last month. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to sit back, relax and whatever happens, happens. I‚Äôm not going to stress about the draft or sit here and put so much pressure on myself or everything like that. I did everything I could do. If it works out for me, great. If I get drafted, great. Free agent, whatever I have to do, I‚Äôm fine with it.‚Äù
Rich Rosa, who represents Smith and Gates, said Tuesday that Smith ‚Äúis a draftable player on quite a few team‚Äôs draft boards,‚Äù but if not selected he would be a priority free agent.
Brown and defensive linemen Abry Jones and Kwame Geathers made NFL rosters as undrafted free agents last year.
Brown was with his grandmother at home in Memphis for the draft, but never heard his name called.
He said it was on the drive back to Athens that he got a call about a free agent deal with Houston.
He picked the Texans over the Ravens because he said they had less receivers and a bigger signing bonus.
‚ÄúThey guaranteed it over the phone, but when I got there it was something different,‚Äù Brown said. ‚ÄúSome other stuff came up. I told them to send me home.‚Äù
Brown signed with the Ravens on May 14, 2013, and it couldn‚Äôt have worked out better.
The splash he made in his first year is bigger than your typical undrafted free agent, but it hasn‚Äôt quite made him as famous as Joe Flacco in Baltimore.
‚ÄúI go out sometimes and they might call me Lardarius Webb or somebody else who has dreads on the team,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs all good. I‚Äôm just living life still like I‚Äôm 23 years old.‚Äù
Follow Marc online at twitter.com/marcweiszer.