Trivia and list: Sweat is 81st Georgian taken in NFL first round

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As expected, Stephenson High graduate Montez Sweat was taken in the first round in the NFL Draft on Thursday. The former Mississippi State defense end went 26th overall to the Washington Redskins.

With that, at least one former Georgia high school player has been taken in the first round each season this decade. The last time that no Georgia player went in the first round was 2009.

It wasn’t always that way for the state, though.

The first former Georgia high school player taken in any NFL Draft was Larry Morris of Decatur in 1955. That was in the 20th NFL Draft.

Morris, who starred at Georgia Tech and later the Chicago Bears, was the only first-round pick from Georgia in the 1950s. There were only two in the 1960s – Ken Rice in 1961 and Bill Stanfill in 1969. There were seven in the ‘70s.

Move ahead to the current decade, and Sweat is the 27th Georgian to go in the first round since 2010 — one-third of the 81 ever taken from the state (list below). Only California, Florida and Texas are believed to have more first-round picks in that time.

Who was the best first-round pick from Georgia?

Cam Newton of Westlake was the 2015 NFL MVP. Jamal Lewis of Douglass was a 2,000-yard rusher in 2003. There have been many multiple All-Pro picks such as Bill Stanfill of Cairo and Eric Berry of Creekside.

But there are only two certain Hall of Famers – Champ Bailey and Calvin Johnson. Bailey, a product of Charlton County High and the University of Georgia, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. Johnson, who starred at Sandy Creek High and Georgia Tech, will be eligible in 2021.

Here are five more facts you might not know about Georgians in the first round, plus a list of all 81:

*Morris, the first-ever Georgian taken in the first round, won state titles at Decatur (1949, 1950), a national title at Georgia Tech (1952) and an NFL title with the Chicago Bears (1963) and was the MVP of the 1963 NFL championship game. As a first-rounder, Morris went eight rounds quicker than Johnny Unitas in 1955.

*Ken Rice, the second Georgia player taken in the first round, was drafted in the first round twice. The St. Louis Cardinals picked him No. 8 overall in the 1961 NFL Draft, but he signed with the Buffalo Bills, who took him third overall in the 1961 AFL Draft. A Bainbridge native, Rice was an All-America lineman and played seven seasons in the AFL. The most famous Georgia draftee in 1961 was Athens High’s Fran Tarkenton, a University of Georgia quarterback taken in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) and fifth round by the Boston Patriots (AFL).

*George Rogers in 1981 became the first former Georgia high school player to be taken No. 1 overall in the draft. Rogers, who starred at Duluth when that school was Class B and Gwinnett County was much smaller in population, had won the Heisman Trophy with South Carolina. Playing for the New Orleans Saints, Rogers rushed for an NFL-leading 1,674 yards as a rookie.

*The second, and most recent, No. 1 overall pick from Georgia was Cam Newton in 2011. Like Rogers, Newton had won a Heisman Trophy. Newton played at Westlake High in south Fulton County and then at Auburn. Newton was the 2015 NFL MVP with the Carolina Panthers. Newton is one of two quarterbacks from Georgia to go in the first. The other is Deshaun Watson of Gainesville, taken 12th overall by the Houston Texans in 2017.

*The 2005 NFL Draft saw five former Georgia high school players taken in the first round. That’s the most ever. They were Ronnie Brown from Cartersville, Adam “Pacman” Jones from Westlake, Carlos Rogers of Butler in Augusta, Thomas Davis of Randolph-Clay and David Pollack of Shiloh in Gwinnett County. Jones and Davis were still in the league last season.

2019

#26 DE Montez Sweat, Stephenson (Mississippi State) NFL: Redskins

2018

#5 DE Bradley Chubb, Hillgrove (N.C. State) NFL: Broncos

#8 LB Roquan Smith, Macon County (Georgia) NFL: Bears

2017

#12 QB Deshaun Watson, Gainesville (Clemson) NFL: Texans

#21 LB Jarrad Davis, Camden County (Florida) NFL: Lions

#23 TE Evan Engram, Hillgrove (Mississippi) NFL: Giants

2016

#9 LB Leonard Floyd, Dodge County (Georgia) NFL: Bears

#12 DT Sheldon Rankins, Eastside (Louisville) NFL: Saints

#29 DT Robert Nkemdiche, Grayson (Ole Miss) NFL: Cardinals

2015

#8 DE Vic Beasley, Adairsville (Clemson) NFL: Falcons

#19 OL Cameron Erving, Colquitt County (Florida State) NFL: Browns

#22 DE Bud Dupree, Wilkinson County (Kentucky) NFL: Steelers

#26 WR Breshad Perriman, Arabia Mountain (Central Florida) NFL: Ravens

2014

#19 OT Ju’Wuan James, North Gwinnett (Tennessee) NFL: Dolphins

#24 CB Darqueze Dennard, Twiggs County (Michigan State) NFL: Bengals

#26 DE Marcus Smith, Hardaway (Louisville) NFL: Eagles

#31 CB Bradley Roby, Peachtree Ridge (Ohio State) NFL: Broncos

2013

#10 G Chance Warmack, Westlake (Alabama) NFL: Titans

#17 LB Jarvis Jones, Carver (Columbus) (Georgia) NFL: Steelers

#30 LB Alec Ogletree, Newnan (Georgia) NFL: Rams

2012

#15 DE Bruce Irvin, Stephenson (West Virginia) NFL: Seahawks

2011

#1 QB Cam Newton, Westlake (Auburn) NFL: Panthers

#25 OT James Carpenter, Hephzibah (Alabama) NFL: Seahawks

#31 DE Cameron Heyward, Peachtree Ridge (Ohio State) NFL: Steelers

2010

#5 FS Eric Berry, Creekside (Tennessee) NFL: Chiefs

#20 CB Kareem Jackson, Westside-Macon (Alabama) NFL: Texans

#22 WR Demaryius Thomas, West Laurens (Georgia Tech) NFL: Broncos

2008

#11 CB Leodis McKelvin, Ware County (Troy) NFL: Bills

2007

#2 WR Calvin Johnson, Sandy Creek (Georgia Tech) NFL: Lions

2005

#2 RB Ronnie Brown, Cartersville (Auburn) NFL: Dolphins

#6 CB Adam Jones, Westlake (West Virginia) NFL: Titans

#9 CB Carlos Rogers, Butler (Auburn) NFL: Redskins

#14 LB Thomas Davis, Randolph-Clay (Georgia) NFL: Panthers

#17 LB David Pollack, Shiloh (Georgia) NFL: Bengals

2004

#10 CB Dunta Robinson, Clarke Central (South Carolina) NFL: Texans

#25 CB Ahmad Carroll, Douglass (Arkansas) NFL: Packers

2003

#6 DT Johnathan Sullivan, Griffin (Georgia) NFL: Saints

#18 DE Calvin Pace, Lithia Springs (Wake Forest) NFL: Cardinals

#20 OT George Foster, Southwest-Macon (Georgia) NFL: Broncos

2002

#25 DE Charles Grant, Miller County (Georgia) NFL: Saints

2001

#13 DT Marcus Stroud, Brooks County (Georgia) NFL: Jaguars

#18 OT Jeff Backus, Norcross (Michigan) NFL: Lions

2000

#5 RB Jamal Lewis, Douglass (Tennessee) NFL: Ravens

1998

#7 CB Champ Bailey, Charlton County (Georgia) NFL: Redskins

#18 OT Matt Stinchcomb, Parkview (Georgia) NFL: Raiders

#12 LB Keith Brooking, East Coweta (Georgia Tech) NFL: Falcons

#13 LB Takeo Spikes, Washington County (Auburn) NFL: Bengals

#18 RB Robert Edwards, Washington County (Georgia) NFL: Patriots

1996

#13 CB Walt Harris, LaGrange (Mississippi State) NFL: Bears

1995

#22 CB Tyrone Poole, LaGrange (Fort Valley State) NFL: Panthers

#25 T Billy Milner, Northside-Atlanta (Houston) NFL: Dolphins

1993

#3 RB Garrison Hearst, Lincoln County (Georgia) NFL: Cardinals

1992

#6 DE Eric Curry, Thomasville (Alabama) NFL: Buccaneers

#20 DB Dale Carter, Newton (Tennessee) NFL: Chiefs

1991

#8 OG Antone Davis, Peach County (Tennessee) NFL: Eagles

#15 DT Huey Richardson, Lakeside-Atlanta (Florida) NFL: Steelers

#20 DT Kelvin Pritchett, Therrell (Mississippi) NFL: Cowboys

1990

#21 TE Eric Green, Beach (Liberty) NFL: Steelers

#22 CB Ben Smith, Warner Robins (Georgia) NFL: Eagles

#25 RB Dexter Carter, Appling County (Florida State) NFL: ers

1988

#7 WR Sterling Sharpe, Glennville (South Carolina) NFL: Packers

1987

#22 OL Harris Barton, Dunwoody (North Carolina) NFL: ers

1985

#24 LB Alvin Toles, Mary Persons (Tennessee) NFL: Saints

1984

#19 DE Freddie Gilbert, Griffin (Georgia) NFL: Broncos

1983

#18 WR Willie Gault, Griffin (Tennessee) NFL: Bears

#19 DB Joey Browner, Southwest-Atlanta (Southern Cal) NFL: Vikings

1982

#3 LB Chip Banks, Laney (Southern Cal) NFL: Browns

#6 DB Jeff Bryant, Gordon (Clemson) NFL: Seahawks

#13 WR Lindsay Scott, Wayne County (Georgia) NFL: Saints

1981

#1 RB George Rogers, Duluth (South Carolina) NFL: Saints

#24 RB James Brooks, Warner Robins (Auburn) NFL: Chargers

1979

#15 RB Eddie Lee Ivery, Thomson (Georgia Tech) NFL: Packers

#26 G Kent Hill, Americus (Georgia Tech) NFL: Rams

#27 C Robert Shaw, Wheeler (Tennessee) NFL: Cowboys

1973

#24 DT J.T. Thomas, Lanier-Macon (Florida State) NFL: Steelers

1972

#8 OL Royce Smith, Groves (Georgia) NFL: Saints

1971

#14 DB Clarence Scott, Trinity-Decatur (Kansas State) NFL: Browns

1970

#12 DT John Small, Richmond Academy (Citadel) NFL: Falcons

1969

#11 DL Bill Stanfill, Cairo (Georgia) NFL: Dolphins

1961

#8 T Ken Rice, Bainbridge (Auburn) NFL: Cardinals

1955

#7 C Larry Morris, Decatur (Georgia Tech) NFL: Rams

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