NFL Draft expert Daniel Jeremiah released his final mock draft for the 2023 cycle on Wednesday night, just 24 hours before the start of all the chaos in Kansas City. Like his previous ones as of late, Jeremiah has three Georgia players going in the first round, but even he admits that there’s a lot of shrugging going on as he predicts this year’s first round. It’s as open as ever before.
Going No. 5 overall to the Seattle Seahawks according to Jeremiah is Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter. Thought to be possibly the best overall player in this year’s draft, holdups on Carter come because of concerns about his character and work ethic, even while on the field. However, when he was healthy this past season, Carter was among the most disruptive forces on the defensive side of the ball in all of college football. He had 7.0 tackles for loss on the season, all of which came in a five game stretch.
“Half of the league sources I talk to think Carter will be the pick here, while the other half has told me there’s no chance he’ll be Seattle’s selection at No. 5,” Jeremiah wrote. “I don’t know what to believe, but he would be a great fit in Pete Carroll’s defense.”
After one Dawg went in the top 10 last year, Jeremiah’s prediction has two this year with outside linebacker Nolan Smith joining forces with two of his Georgia teammates, Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean, in Philadelphia with the defending NFC champion Eagles.
Smith finished fifth on the team in tackles in 2021 with 56 alongside Davis and Dean. Without a doubt, the trio acted as leaders for the Dawgs that season, and Smith carried it into 2022 as he returned for his senior year. He totaled 7.0 tackles for loss in eight outings before suffering a season ending injury in late October.
As the third and final Georgia player picked in the first round, Jeremiah projects Broderick Jones to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 17. It comes on the heels of Mike Tomlin and the organization taking a quarterback, Kenny Pickett, last year and would help provide him with much needed protection.
Jones started all 15 games for Georgia at left tackle this past season as he took over for Jamaree Salyer, who was taken in the sixth round of the draft and started all but three games for Los Angeles Chargers as a rookie. Given his relative inexperience having just one season under his belt, Jones is seen sort of as a piece of clay that can be molded, and at various points throughout the process he’s been projected to the Steelers as an athletic piece that can be shaped by former NFL player and longtime coaching veteran Pat Meyer on the offensive line.
The 2023 NFL Draft gets underway Thursday in Kansas City at 8:00 p.m. ET, airing on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. In total, 13 Georgia players hope to hear their name called including these three plus include quarterback Stetson Bennett, running back Kenny McIntosh, wide receiver Kearis Jackson, tight end Darnell Washington, offensive linemen Warren McClendon and Warren Ericson, outside linebacker Robert Beal, defensive backs Kelee Ringo and Christopher Smith and kicker Jack Podlesny.
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