L.A. Chargers coach: Kirby Smart’s advice to draft Jamaree Salyer saved playoff season

I'm offering this because I was SHOCKED that the Falcons PASSED on Jamaree Salyer in round 6 instead for his teammate Justin Shafer, who was nowhere near the talent. This is one of the first inclinations I had that the Falcons scouting/draft team and player development teams are sub-par. This was a no-brainer failure by the Falcons and someone should be answering questions. I was saying this immediately after the draft on this site. Here is Mike Griffith at DawgNation reporting the market intelligence from LA/San Diego.

Mike Griffith,

DawgNation Staff

@mikegriffith32Posted March 7, 2023

ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has become known best for winning championships and developing first-round players.

But it was the phone call he was on in the latter rounds of the 2022 Draft that proved pivotal for one NFL Playoff team.

WATCH: Jamaree Salyer provided advice for Georgia to repeat as champs in 2022

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley shared the important role Smart played in helping Jamaree Salyer get selected in last year’s draft after the UGA team captain had slid deep into the draft on account of his injury history.

"My favorite story from the last two years is we picked Jamaree Salyer in the sixth round, and he ends up like saving our season," said Staley, whose franchise picked Salyer to played guard but ended up having to use him at offensive tackle on account of injuries.

"I’d spoken at Kirby Smart’s clinic at Georgia last year, and they had a million guys coming out, (Smart) does a great job, and Jamaree is a guy we really loved in the draft process."

But to Staley’s point, when an obviously talented and strong character player like Salyer keeps getting passed by, franchises wonder if there’s more going on with the prospect than they’re aware.

"(So) the rounds are going and there’s some stuff about some of his medical history and stuff like that, but we loved him as a player," Staley said. "So it’s getting like the sixth round, I call Kirby Smart on the phone and I’m like, ‘Kirby we need to talk.’

"(Smart) said ‘Brandon, I promise you, this guy is the real deal,’ and we pick him, he has a fantastic season, and we probably picked him two or three rounds too late."

Smart’s credibility and relationships with NFL head coaches and general managers is integral to his players being selected in optimal positions, as Staley explained.

"It’s one of those things where you’re on the clock, and you’re trusting those relationships you’ve built with people," Staley said, "and you’re getting that information in real time, and for us to go pick him, it was a great moment for the Chargers."

It was a great moment for Georgia football, too, because it illustrated the value that playing for a program with the stability of a well-known coach can have over other programs that may be trying to lure recruits with more NIL money up front.

The Bulldogs have players making money through NIL like any other program — Stetson Bennett is believed to have made more than $1 million as a returning starter last season.

But the bigger value for prospects with NFL talent most often comes on the back end, when they are able to realize their professional aspirations after training against other elite NFL types with experienced and celebrated coaches.

Salyer, a player who didn’t start until his sophomore season, had the sort of season in Los Angeles that further enhances the Georgia brand, as he provided more evidence of the preparedness that Smart’s players bring to the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles vice president and GM Howie Rosenberg vouched for Smart and Georgia football last week at the NFL Combine, as well.

"The guys we get from that program understand how to work and they understand the expectations — it’s not just about playing well, it’s about trying to compete for championships," said Roseman, whose Eagles did just that this season, winning 16 games before falling just short in the Super Bowl.

"They are being trained the right way at Georgia as football players and as people."


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