On the surface, some Florida Gator fans might have been happy that Jake Fromm, quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs the past three years and author of a Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma a few seasons ago, fell like a rock in the NFL Draft. Fromm wasn’t taken until Round 5 and pick No. 167 by the Buffalo Bills, a humiliating tumble for a player who chose to leave college early.
By Matt Zemek
Gator fans who wanted to rub it in at Georgia fans might have also pointed out that former UGA product Jacob Eason, who transferred to the University of Washington, also fell in the draft, out of the first two days. Eason was taken in Round 4 on Saturday afternoon at pick No. 122 by the Indianapolis Colts.
On an immediate level, sure, it sucks to be a fan of a player who falls on draft day; conversely, it might give rival fans some degree of pleasure to see rival players suffer during the draft.
Yet, if Florida fans are being honest with themselves, these draft falls for Georgia quarterbacks aren’t happy occurrences. They should make UF fans mad as hell that Georgia has been able to handle the Gators without too much trouble under Kirby Smart. Georgia didn’t exactly stroll to easy wins in recent years, but these games were just as clearly not late-fourth-quarter nailbiters. Georgia beat Florida by a modest working margin. These recent Cocktail Parties weren’t 50-50 games up for grabs in the final minutes. Georgia had firmly established itself as the better team in Jacksonville, and no one could possibly doubt that conclusion.
All with Jake Fromm quarterbacking the Dawgs.
The Florida outlook doesn’t get any better if you move away from the quarterback position itself.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, Florida and Georgia both produced seven draft picks. Both schools produced no more than two picks in a single round. Florida actually had more picks in the first two days of the draft (4) than Georgia (3). Georgia’s only significant advantage over Florida was in the first round, and even then, it’s not as though the Dawgs blew the Gators out of the swamp-water: UGA had two first-rounders to UF’s one. These were very even drafts in a two-team comparison between Georgia and Florida.
The Gators and their fans have to know that until they get the gifted quarterback who can change the equation — a Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Rex Grossman, or Tim Tebow for a new age — they are likely to lag behind the Dawgs, who play a lower-risk game but know how to apply brute force to great effect.
Jake Fromm wasn’t a strong NFL prospect because Georgia didn’t demand much from him. Florida fans know that a Gator football team is supposed to be more creative, more clever, more daring, more ambitious… but without the quarterback who can allow for that kind of offense, UF can’t take the next step under Dan Mullen.
This draft involved the fall of two Georgia quarterbacks, but the only thing which truly fell was Florida’s sense of optimism. If it couldn’t beat Jake Fromm (who took over for Jacob Eason), what does that say about the future?
Georgia fans might not be happy about Fromm’s fate, but relative to Florida fans, they have every right to chuckle at the recent flow and the current reality of the Cocktail Party.