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Heading into the 2021 season, Georgia was expected to see improvement on the offensive line, with four starters back from last year's solid year. 

But it heads into the SEC Championship game with some questions, especially on the left side. 

The Bulldogs lost one one of their most physical players when left guard Tate Ratledge suffered a season-ending foot injury during the season opener against Clemson. Junior Warren Ericson stepped in. 

Senior left tackle Jamaree Salyer is expected back after missing the final four games of the regular season with an ankle injury, but that's not set in stone. 

"Jamaree had a setback last week that was minor, but it was enough that he couldn't play this past week," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "I thought he was going to play against Georgia Tech, but once he had a setback it was a little tougher for him to. We'll find out where he's at. It's really up to how he practices and what he does."

Redshirt freshman Broderick Jones has filled in for Salyer. 

The rest of the line features redshirt freshman Sedrick Van Pran at center, fifth-year senior Justin Shaffer at right guard and redshirt sophomore Warren McClendon at right tackle. 

Justin Shaffer

Jersey: No. 54
Position: Guard
Height: 6-3.5
Weight: 320
DOB: 6/20/98
Draft eligible: 2022
Hometown: Ellenwood, Georgia
High School: Cedar Grove

Background

Has played left and right guard for the Bulldogs. Three-star recruit according to 247Sports. Sport management major. 

Pros

The left guard for the Bulldogs plays with low pad level, preventing defenders from getting under him and winning the leverage battle at the point of attack. Shaffer has pop in his hands to deal out body blows and finish off opponents. Working downhill, he creates a push. At the second level, he has good eyes, locating linebackers. Possessing strength, Shaffer can absorb blows from longer rushers and pin defensive tackles in the run game. Violent hands allow him to break the contact point when opponents attack his chest. Plays wide in pass protection.

Cons

Limited athlete who is not quick enough laterally in pass protection to recover consistently. He does not change directions fast enough to shut down counters. Quick opponents off the ball give him issues when he lunges or shoots his hands and stops moving his feet. Shaffer fails to follow up his push at the point of attack, falling off of blocks too often. He does not always recognize blitzes allowing for free rushers. Doing a better job of using angles would help his consistency.

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Summary

Guard with prototypical size for a gap scheme that uses leverage to his advantage. Shaffer is a strong finisher on the interior. He lacks lateral agility and tends to lunge, causing him to struggle against quick defenders. Shaffer projects as a backup guard in a gap scheme where he can use his strength. He could start down the road if he can improve fundamentals.

Grades

7.0 (current value)/7.8 (potential value)

Jamaree Salyer

Jersey: No. 69
Position: Left tackle
Height: 6-3.6
Weight: 325
DOB: 7/13/00
Draft eligible: 2022
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
High School: Pace Academy

Background

Raised in Atlanta. Five-star recruit according to 247Sports. Played with New York Giants tackle Andrew Thomas in high school. Sport management major. Saw action at left tackle, right tackle and left guard as well as a backup role at center at Georgia.

Pros

Versatile offensive lineman who was a guard recruit and played or backed up every spot along the Georgia offensive line. Salyer shows strong leg drive to move opponents off the ball, creating movement in the run game. In pass protection, he displays patience and enough foot speed to mirror rushers up the arc.

Cons

Salyer tends to lean and stop his feet as a run blocker, giving defenders an easy time deconstructing. Quick linemen give him trouble off the ball and he is not urgent enough to reach and seal opponents. Instead of finding work, he stands around putting his competitive toughness in question. As a pass protector, Salyer is unable to absorb speed to power and fails to play wide as a guard. He does not shut down counters with a power step. Slow hands and average length allow rushers to get into his frame, uproot and disengage often. Salyer looks uncomfortable on the move. He is frequently late off the ball.

Summary

Compact tackle with average length who has played every spot along the offensive line for the Bulldogs. Salyer can create movement up front with his leg drive. A lack of urgency and slow feet hurt him in all phases of the game. Salyer projects as a developmental guard who will have a hard time trying to stick on a practice squad. He has desirable traits and the step up in competition will not be as steep from the SEC.

Grades

5.4 (current value)/6.2 potential value)

BamaCentral Analysis 

The Georgia offensive line been more than stout. Overall, the Bulldogs are averaging 40.7 points per game and has outscored its opponents 488-83. The unit has only allowed eight sacks this year. That leads the SEC and ranks second nationally, trailing only Army (six in 11 games) who runs the triple-option offense and has attempted an FBS-low 85 passes. Georgia's had success establishing the run, including a season-high 274 rushing yards against Tennessee, and 56 attempts for 273 yards (4.9 yards/rush) and three touchdowns against Arkansas, but Alabama is No. 4 against the run. It's a key matchup, especially considering the Crimson Tide's pass rushers led by Will Anderson Jr. 

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All this week, BamaCentral will profile numerous Georgia players as the Crimson Tide prepares for another showdown in the SEC Championship Game . Also check out NFL Draft Bible for more evaluations.

Jordan Davis and the Georgia Defensive Line

Heading into the 2021 season, Georgia was expected to see improvement on the offensive line, with four starters back from last year's solid year. 

But it heads into the SEC Championship game with some questions, especially on the left side. 

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