Mock draft season is upon us, as several senior draft analysts have released their initial mock drafts. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper released his first mock on Wednesday, and several Georgia Bulldogs were included.
Kiper went through the entire first round, making each team's selection and breaking down his thought process. The whole article is available on ESPN+, where all of Kiper's draft coverage will be this spring.
Georgia's defense willed them to a national title, and this spring, several members of that unit will become top draft choices. In Kiper's mock, three Bulldog defenders were selected in the first round, the most from any unit across the country.
Draft season hasn't quite started yet, as the NFL playoffs are in full swing. Over the coming months, fans should grow accustomed to hearing arguments both for and against prospects, but upon first impression, some former Bulldogs are about to get paid.
Nakobe Dean, ILB: Denver Broncos, No. 9
While Dean put together one of the most complete resumes of any defensive prospect, he will likely receive some harsh criticism this offseason. NFL scouts prioritize measurables over everything, and Dean lacks raw physical testing numbers.
His combine performance likely won't be anything to write home about, but his impact on Saturdays should lock him into the top-15. His play speed and recognition should prove more valuable than a forty-yard dash time, a practice that is being outdated by the year.
"Denver could be a great spot for the draft's best off-ball linebacker, Dean, who was the leader of the spectacular Georgia defense. He makes tackle after tackle and can run sideline to sideline to make plays, and he has three-down potential because of his ability to cover tight ends and running backs. He'll also help as a blitzer -- he had six sacks in 2021. The Broncos have the Rams' second- and third-round picks from the Von Miller trade, so general manager George Paton has a real chance to get this team back to the playoffs if he can nail a few early selections, as he did with Pat Surtain II and Javonte Williams last year."
Jordan Davis, DT: Los Angeles Chargers, No. 17
Davis has been linked to the Chargers for several months now. They desperately need a nose tackle that can stop the run. Fortunately for them, Davis has been elite against the run since his freshman season.
There are several critiques of Davis entering the NFL. Many feel he doesn't play enough to constitute spending a first-round pick, while others point to the fact that young defensive tackles struggle to make way for themselves in the NFL.
While Davis has to adapt to the NFL lifestyle, he has shown the work ethic and commitment necessary to impact a high-level defense eventually. Specific teams could fall in love with him during the pre-draft process, which could help his case.
"Who better to fill that than the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Davis? He'd make the entire defense better because he eats up blocks and allows linebackers to roam free. He also can play on three downs; he's not just a plugger. He showed on his sack in the national title game that he has some pass-rush ability, which is scary for a man of his size. Davis won't be a fit for every team, but the teams that run a 3-4 defense will eye him in this range."
Travon Walker, EDGE: Dallas Cowboys, No. 24
This spring, Walker could shoot up draft boards following a dominant showing in the College Football Playoffs. He is one of the more physical rushers in the class who has shown some movement skills during his tenure with Georgia.
There is a top group of pass rushers in the class, namely Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux, Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson, and Purdue's George Karlaftis. However, Walker could rise to the top of that second group with strong testing numbers this spring.
"Walker, whom McShay recently called "one of the most underrated prospects in the class," stands out every time I watch the loaded Georgia defense. He can blow up tackles at the point of attack, and he has the physical traits to chase down ball carriers in the run game. At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, he has some scheme versatility at the next level.