Georgia football players discussed by ESPN NFL Draft analysts

With Week 1 of the 2022 college football season upon us, ESPN NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Matt Miller, and Jordan Reid discussed the 2023 draft class on Friday. Georgia was featured prominently in the overall and positional rankings by the outlet.

Defensive tackle Jalen Carter was named the consensus No. 2, with three of the four ranking him No. 2 overall and Kiper ranking him No. 4. Senior edge rusher Nolan Smith is tied for No. 9 overall, with McShay (5th), Reid (7th), and Miller (9th) ranking him inside the top 10 and Kiper ranking him 25th.

Kenny McIntosh did not make Kiper’s top five running backs but came in as the No. 3 tailback for McShay and Miller and no. 4 for Reid. Kiper and Miller named redshirt sophomores Arik Gilbert their No. 1 H-Back, while McShay and Reid listed him as their No. 2 tight end. Junior Darnell Washington was the no. 3 tight end for Miller, No. 5 for Reid and McShay, but not listed among Kiper’s top five tight ends. Broderick Jones was named the No. 4 offensive tackle by Kiper, No. 5 by McShay and Reid, but not among Miller’s top five. Sedrick Van Pran was named the No. 2 center in the draft by McShay, Reid, and Miller and the No. 3 center by Kiper. Smith came in as the No. 1 edge rusher for Reid, No. 2 for McShay and Miller, and no. 5 for Kiper. Kelee Ringo is the No. 1 cornerback in the draft for McShay, Reid, and Miller, and No. 2 for Kiper.

Reid named Ringo the most explosive prospect in the class and someone who could light up the combine next year.

Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo is an easy choice for me here. The redshirt sophomore has a track background and recorded championship-winning times in the 100-meter (10.43) and 200-meter dashes (21.18) while in high school in Arizona. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, he plays with lots of suddenness and explosion, and he could pop in a bunch of the drills in Indianapolis. Ringo has a chance to be a top-10 pick if he has a big season.

Miller says Carter is his biggest question mark heading into the 2022 season.

There is no doubting the talent of Carter, but how will he handle a larger role on Georgia’s defensive line without numerous first-round talents around him? We’ve seen talented players in the past take a step back once they’re no longer protected by the superstars around them, and while Carter looks pretty immune to that based on his 2021 tape, we do have to reconcile the fact that three of his defensive linemates were drafted in the first round. Carter will have to take on more snaps and be expected to produce more than the three sacks he had last year to live up to his top-five draft status.

As for the actual season, all four projected Georgia to make the College Football Playoff once again, along with Alabama and Ohio State. Three of the four have Clemson as the fourth team, with Miller putting USC instead. Two of the four have Ohio State winning it all, with Alabama as the other projected national champion.

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