Georgia's biggest concerns heading into a week one clash of the titans against Clemson on a neutral field would have to be 1A cornerbacks and 1B offensive line. Rightfully so, as both positions will be tested by an explosive receiving core and immensely talented front seven on defense.
Seeing both former starting interior linemen Ben Cleveland and Trey Hill hear their name get called during the 2021 NFL Draft felt good for Bulldog fans. Finally, Cleveland and Hill will have the opportunity to add to the tradition that has been set by the offensive linemen that came before them in between the hedges.
Returning seniors Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer were named among the top five of their position groups by Pro Football Focus (PFF) heading in the 2021 season. Salyer being the fourth-ranked returning offensive tackle in the country. At the same time, Shaffer was the fifth-ranked returning interior linemen.
Even after two seasons of having to sit behind and learn from the likes of Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson while being a swing player on the interior, Salyer is right where many expected him to be when he was a four-star interior lineman out of Pace Academy in Atlanta Georgia.
Much like Salyer, Justin Shaffer had to wait his turn before earning a starting role along the offensive line. As a result, 2020 was Shaffer's first season as the full-time starter at left guard, where he started nine games before shifting over to right guard to fill the void of Ben Cleveland for the Peach Bowl.
So what did PFF have to say about the two senior offensive linemen?
Salyer had “breakout” written all over him in 2020 after shining on limited reps all across the offensive line in previous seasons. The 2018 four-star — who ranked 10th nationally, according to 247Sports — excelled in his first full season in a starting role, posting an 81.2 PFF grade. Salyer earned grades above 77.0 as both a pass blocker and a run blocker, something only 10 Power Five tackles accomplished this past season.
Shaffer finally earned a starting spot in 2020 after three years of limited game action. While he was rather inconsistent, his high-end play earns him a spot on this list. He was the fourth-highest-graded Power Five guard in 2020. Shaffer finished with the seventh-best positively graded run-block rate in the Power Five last season, performing well on true pass sets for a first-time starter in the SEC. He ranked eighth in the Power Five and second in the SEC in true pass set blocking grade.