Bullard seriously silencing the draft doubters
Entering this week, NFL scouts already knew that Javon Bullard could cover and knew that he could hit.
Was Bullard fast enough for the NFL, however? That was the big question. Consider it answered, as Bullard statistically was one of the fastest players during this week's Senior Bowl practices. Bullard reached a top speed of 20.71 miles per hour, which was the seventh-fastest out of the 138 players in practice.
On top of that, Bullard was voted as the top safety by his teammates...
Bullard is poised to become the sixth Milledgeville man ever drafted by the NFL. Leroy Hill, a 2001 Baldwin High graduate, currently holds the distinction of being the highest draft pick from Milledgeville. Hill, a former ACC Defensive Player of the Year at Clemson, was drafted at the tail end of the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Earnest Byner, now 58, was drafted in round No. 10 of the 1984 draft, back before the draft was shortened to seven rounds. Sulecio Sanford, a BHS and Middle Tennessee State product, was taken in the seventh round of the 1999 Draft. John Milledge Academy's J.T. Wall was selected in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL draft. The aforementioned Hill went in round No. 3 in 2005, while BHS and Florida Gator product Maurice Hurt was selected in the seventh round of the 2011 draft.
Based on a composite of mock draft nerds on the internet, Bullard currently is projected to be selected in the second round. Bullard's goal, of course, is to be drafted in the first round, where he currently is projected to be picked by 16.2 percent of the aforementioned draft nerds at nflmockdraftdatabase.com
The money is immense, and there's a good deal of variance. Players around the middle of the first round in the 2023 NFL Draft, for example, all signed four-year contracts for around $4 million per year and an $8 million signing bonus. Naturally, the money went down from there:
• mid second round – around $1.9 million per year and a $2.4 million signing bonus
• mid third round – around $1.4 million per year and a $1 million signing bonus
• mid fourth round – around $1.1 million per year and a $750,000 signing bonus
• mid fifth round – around $1 million per year and a $300,000 signing bonus
• mid sixth round –around $1 million per year and a $180,000 signing bonus
• mid seventh round – around $1 million per year and a $100,000 signing bonus
The signing bonus is the big deal, and it's the only money in any rookie contract in the NFL that's "guaranteed money." The rest of the money is based on performance on the field and the ability to stay healthy
MORE BALDWIN2K READING
Javon Bullard Day was held around the Baldwin County School District following Georgia's second national championship in as many seasons. // Photos by Eric Jones, Director of School & Community Relations for the BCSD
In terms of local products who've appeared in NFL regular season games, there are five. Byner had the most prolific pro career, racking up more than 13,000 total yards in his 13-year career, while also winning a Super Bowl ring and making a Pro Bowl. Sanford appeared in several games for the Chicago Bears in 2000. Hill was a starting linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks for four years and appeared in a Super Bowl. Nick Harper was an undrafted free agent out of Fort Valley State who actually began his career in the Canadian Football League before catching on with the Indianapolis Colts. Harper went on to have a very successful nine-year career, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts in 2005 and starting at cornerback. Hurt, meanwhile, started several games on the offensive line for the Washington Redskins during his three-year stint in the league between 2011–2013.
Bullard leaves Athens with 42 wins, 23 starts, two Defensive MVP awards in College Football Playoff games and, of course, two national championship rings.