Potential Day 1 Prospects
Deandre Baker, CB, Sr.
Even if you’re a casual college football fan, Baker was noticeably effective in last season’s BCS Playoff games. I would’ve had a 1st round grade on him had he entered the 2018 NFL Draft. I have him ranked behind LSU’s Greedy Williams for now, but Baker is probably my 2nd ranked corner if I had to choose today (but it’s also July!). I expect him to carry a solid 1st round grade into April.
Demetris Robertson, WR, So.
If Robertson proves to be healthy after missing last season to injury with California then there’s no reason he can’t be a 1st round selection in April. The transfer broke freshman records set by Desean Jackson and Keenan Allen. He’s a former 5-star recruit with blazing speed. We would have likely ranked Robertson as the top overall receiver in the 2018 class.
Potential Day 2 Prospects
Tyler Clark, DL, Jr.
Clark looks like your typical Pittsburgh Steeler 3-4 DE. In other words, he’s around 6’4 and over 300 lbs while showing that he can make plays in opposing backfields. I think Clark is an easy Day 2 choice with a chance to move even higher with a good year of tape.
Ben Cleveland, OG-RT, So.
Cleveland is regarded as one of the strongest players in college football. He will start at right guard for Georgia in 2018 and I think he could also play left guard or right tackle in the NFL. He is a Day 2 lock in my eyes if he decides to declare for the 2019 draft.
Isaac Nauta, TE, Jr.
Nauta had a big freshman year and did not put up many statistics as a sophomore. Regardless of his production as a junior, Nauta is going to be in the Day 2 mix when he enters the draft. He can catch and block. The only thing that could keep him out of the top 100 is his speed. A strong combine performance would lock him into the early rounds, while a less than ideal speed showing will still get him drafted on Day 3.
D’Andre Walker, LB, Sr.
I’m still not sure what Walker is as a player and I have a feeling he will be of specific interest to me during the 2019 Senior Bowl. He is too short to be a rush end in a 4-3. That said, he definitely has a future as a 3-4 rush linebacker. The issue there is that players who are limited in that way (example: Okoronkwo) tend to fall down the board further than projected. If Walker shows he can do more than just get to the quarterback, his stock could skyrocket to the top of the 2nd round. Can he play 4-3 WILL, or is he limited to 4-3 SAM? We’ll find out throughout the season and likely during one of the college All Star games.
J.R. Reed, S, Jr.
Former Minnesota Viking receiver, Jake Reed, has a son who made a lot of plays in his first year as a starter. J.R. will find himself in the Day 2 mix if he can build on his 2nd-Team All-SEC 2017 campaign. He will also need to show that he is an NFL athlete at the combine after being lightly recruited.
Potential Day 3 Prospects
Cavin “Riley” Ridley, WR, Jr.
I’m impressed by Ridley’s size and YPC (19.8 Fr., 15.6 So.), but I don’t see more than a possible unspectacular starting receiver. Not that that’s a bad thing. I just believe others are higher on him than I am. Right now, I’d rate him somewhere in the 4th-5th rounds; early Day 3.
Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Jr.
Blankenship hit 20-23 of his field goals last season and those totals included a 55-yarder. He will get drafted somewhere between the 5th-6th rounds if he repeats that accuracy and range this season.
Jonathan Ledbetter, 4-3 DE, Sr.
I believe Ledbetter has an NFL future. I just don’t think he has much versatility. Remember Jay Richardson? He is a former Cowboy and Raider. He’s also my comparison for Ledbetter. In an 8-man 4-3 rotation, Ledbetter will set the edge against the run without being much of a threat as a pass rusher. He’s too small to play end in a 3-4. I think he is a quality depth addition at some point around the 6th round.
Solomon Kindley, OG, So.
I don’t think Kindley is a likely entrant into the 2019 draft even though he is technically eligible. There’s some strong talent on Georgia’s offensive line so I’m not sure where he’ll end up playing this season. I expect Kindley to be in the Day 3 mix, but it’ll probably be in 2020.
Elijah Holyfield, RB, Jr.
Holyfield has been buried a bit on an incredible depth chart, but he probably has an NFL future. Evander’s son reminds me of Christine Michael. He is a chiseled physical specimen. The question will be whether or not he has enough versatility to be worth a draft choice. He’s shown he has value as a kick returner, but can he show that he can contribute in the passing game as a blocker or receiver? If not, it’s hard to see him as more than a short yardage back and those types don’t get drafted with top 100 choices very often anymore. For now, I will label Holyfield as a later round pick, but I’m interested to see him in an increased role this upcoming fall.
Mecole Hardman, RS-WR, Jr.
Hardman is the rare return specialist who has a chance to get drafted. He returns both kicks and punts at a high level. He hasn’t done much as a receiver yet and he’s smallish, but he’ll get more of an opportunity this season. Hardman has a Day 3 ceiling unless he takes off as a receiver.
Terry Godwin, WR, Sr.
Godwin doesn’t have a very high draft ceiling. He’s undersized and I don’t believe he will test as an elite athlete. Regardless, he’ll get a look from a team looking for roster depth in the slot even if he doesn’t get drafted.
Lamont Gaillard, C-OG, Sr.
Gaillard has had a very productive collegiate career and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares moving to center in 2018. However, he’s probably too short to play in the NFL. I think his best scenario would be late Day 3.
D’Andre Swift, RB, So.
The seemingly unlimited supply of high-end NFL running back prospects produced by Georgia has no end in sight. Swift led the squad’s position group in receptions last year with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb getting the bulk of the work. Now Swift starts his 2nd season since high school as one of the undisputed stars of college football. He looks like an easy call as a 1st round choice in 2020.
Zamir White, RB, Fr.
White hasn’t played a game at the collegiate level, but he is already viewed as a potential top 5 overall choice in the 2021 NFL Draft. If you haven’t heard of him, take notice. He is a big athletic back who can catch the ball and block. Although White had ACL surgery this past winter, he is probably closer to Todd Gurley than Nick Chubb.
Jake Fromm, QB, So.
Fromm was so impressive as a true freshman. He played well in the SEC and also in the BCS Playoffs. Fromm more than lived up to the hype of being a top recruit and must now overcome some adversity. He injured his non-throwing hand in a boating accident and the team brought in another highly regarded freshman (Justin Fields). It will be fun to see if Fromm can hold onto the starting job despite these circumstances. Either way, I believe he will be in contention to be the first overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Justin Fields, QB, Fr.
Somehow, Georgia was able to land Justin Fields, a recruit who is an even bigger prospect than Jake Fromm. Fields is a much different player. He’s an amazing athlete. However, make no mistake: He has bigtime NFL potential just like Fromm. Could he take advantage of the incumbent’s injury and take over as the starter right away? If not, when is he finally going to get to play? It’s hard to imagine either of these QBs not starting for the next 2 years. Barring a transfer, that appears to be what will happen. We have a lot to find out about Fields as a passer, but he is squarely in the early conversation to be the top overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Andrew Thomas, OT, So.
If you haven’t read my other NCAA team prospect previews, you’re probably thinking I’m hyperbolic at this point. I promise that’s not the case. Thomas is yet another potential top 10 overall selection in the NFL draft. He started at right tackle as a true freshman and will replace Isaiah Wynn on the blind side moving forward. Our site had Wynn rated as a 1st round prospect and I think Thomas is easily a better prospect.
James Cook, RB, Fr.
Cook is a space back with rare receiving ability. This is one of those few players at the position who can make catches down the field, rather than just being adept at racking up receptions near the line of scrimmage. He hasn’t played yet, but he’s exactly the type of player the NFL has really started to covet (Kamara, Hines, etc). I think Cook should be a top 50 selection if he lives up to his billing. That won’t be until 2021.
Richard LeCounte, S, So.
LeCounte played as a true freshman and now he steps into the lineup as a starter and potential future first round draft choice. He has a ton of range and can also play the run adequately. LeCounte will be a name we hear a lot throughout the next 2 years.
Cade Mays, OT, Fr.
Isaiah Wilson, OT, Fr.
I’m going to lump these two together for now simply because neither have played yet. Mays is a true freshman and Wilson redshirted in 2017. One of them will probably start at right tackle immediately. Both have Day 1 or 2 NFL potential. It will be fun to monitor that position battle this season.