Dawgs Daily on SI.com reported the season-ending injury to Georgia wide receiver, Dominick Blaylock Thursday morning. So, with the loss of what was likely to be one of the primary targets for Georgia in the 2020 football season, where will the Dawgs look to replace the lion's share of targets from the SLOT position?
Well first things first, Blaylock was going to be getting the overwhelming majority of his reps this season in the SLOT. So, the depth at the X and Z receivers is unwavering at the point. George Pickens will man the X, and a combination of Matt Landers, Marcus Rosemy, Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson, Tommy Bush, Justin Robinson, and Makiya Tongue will man the Z (likely in that order from what we are told and expect.)
So, where's that leave the SLOT position?
Robertson has been a slight disappointment for Georgia fans since his arrival in Athens after a freshman season at Cal that placed him on the Biletnikoff Award Watchlist entering his sophomore season before a season-ending injury and ultimate transfer back to Georgia. The great news? Georgia has now installed an offense that Robertson is much more comfortable playing within. The even better news? He's displayed during his time in Athens that he still has the ability to take the top off the defense from the SLOT position and Todd Monken's history shows that players like that are invaluable in his system.
Blaylock was more of a "get open now" type of receiver, which is 100% needed in this offense (and will be addressed shortly) but Robertson's role of playing the burner will remain untouched by Blaylock's injury.
Burton was going to be playing both in the SLOT and on the outside this season before the Blaylock injury on Wednesday, and he will likely continue to do the same, but his role in the SLOT was just amplified. Burton is a do it all type of receiver, as opposed to Robertson's propensity to be a straight line speedster. He will be the "get open now" type of athlete on the inside that will be needed on 3rd & short, or whenever Georgia needs an immediate option.
We here at Dawgs Daily have expected Burton to play a vital role from Week 1, and that has only intensified following Wednesday's news.
Jackson is a player we've talked a good bit about this offseason, and like Burton, he was set to play a role in both the SLOT and on the outside. He's one of the hardest workers on the roster and his role has greatly intensified with the loss of Blaylock, not only as a target but a leader in that wideouts room. There's very little experience within that youthful bunch and Jackson provides a much more mature and veteran approach to the group.
Ladd is a player that has gained a significant amount of weight in the last several months leading up to camp. When I first saw him in March he was around 165 to 168 pounds, and according to sources he's up to 185 pounds and is transitioning smoothly into the Georgia offense. We were under the impression that McConkey's early impact this season was going to be on special teams, but with Blaylock's injury, he will likely enter the lineup earlier than expected.
Similar to Demetris Robertson, Smith is a burner and will be one of the fastest college football players in the country. He is expected to return at some point this season for Georgia.
All in all, I think Georgia has two burners in the slot — Robertson and Smith. Two developed and explosive route runners — Burton and McConkey. And one player in Jackson that is a combination of both. They will use them all accordingly this fall.