After getting blanked in the second round of Friday's second day of the NFL Draft, John Jenkins and Shawn Williams each heard their names called in the third.
Jenkins went with the 82nd pick to the New Orleans Saints with Williams selected two picks later by the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted a Bulldog for the fourth straight year.
"It was exciting because I know that I have so many Georgia players that have been here, and they're in Cincinnati and doing great things with the Bengals," Williams said."When I got the phone call and they told me, I was like, 'Add me to the list of Bengals from Georgia, and let's go off and do something great and help the team win and do whatever I can.'"
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said it's not accident the Bengals have so many Bulldogs on their squad.
""Well, I think the coaching staff there under Coach Mark Richt has done a great job teaching them to play aggressive, attacking football. Whether it be offense, defense, they're all no-nonsense guys, so we really like their work ethic, how they handle and carry themselves as people and that says a lot about the program," Lewis said. "I think you guys would agree that they're personable players, they're always approachable, they've always been trained the right way and they do a great job of that down there. It's good to get another Bulldog and we have a good group of Bulldogs here and he becomes comfortable right away with guys he knows and has played with."
All total, Williams is the fifth Bulldog to be selected by the Bengals in the last four years. Cincinnati picked tight end Orson Charles in last year's draft.
"Shawn Williams has great physical tools and has been a great leader down there on that defensive football team at the University of Georgia. There are a lot of good players on that team, and he's done an outstanding job down there," Lewis said. "He's been a quarterback for the defense on the field and is an aggressive, aggressive player. He's got great speed, quickness, measurable, moving in and out, so, we really feel like he comes here and has an opportunity again to compete for an opportunity to play and will for sure upgrade us on special teams as well. If he's not a starting player, he'll play and make us better on special teams."
Jenkins is the first Bulldog to be picked by the Saints since 2003 (Johnathan Sullivan).
"To be honest with you, I knew Coach (Bill) Johnson was really interested in me. I talked a lot to him at the Senior Bowl and I talked to him quite a bit at the combine. To be honest with you, after that, we really didn't talk, but I knew that he was interested in me," Jenkins said. "After I got an understanding about how the process works, how people didn't want to deal cards like a chess match or a poker game so to speak, I knew that some teams, like Coach Johnson, I could sense that he was really interested in me and he told me he wanted to come get me. It was a blessing and I'm glad he came and got me to be honest."
Jenkins, a 6-3, 351-pound native of Meriden, Conn., started 13 games in 2012 and finished with 50 tackles from his nose guard position.
Saints head coach Sean Payton said he received a little insight on Jenkins from Bulldog defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who interviewed for the Saints' defensive coordinator's spot back in February.
"I think that's part of it. Todd (Grantham) was here, the defensive coordinator, and interviewed for this job. We were able to see a lot of film just on our evaluations through this process. We had a little bit more exposure to their program based on the interview and the workouts. I think he was a part of it," Payton said. "They had a lot of good players on their defense and I think they would tell you that they had a number of guys who contributed to the successful season they had."During Georgia's fourth consecutive win over Georgia Tech in 2012, Jenkins stalled the Yellow Jacket attack with a career-high 11 tackles. The transfer from Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College also recorded a sack against #2 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and blocked a field goal in the matchup versus South Carolina.
Williams was elected as the team's defensive captain after starting all 14 games in 2013 and anchoring the Bulldog defense. He finished second on the team with 98 tackles last season and with 209 in his career.
The draft concludes on Saturday beginning at noon with rounds 4-7.