Where will the 2021 Georgia football stars land in the NFL Draft?

Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) hoists the trophy
Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) hoists the trophy /

With the confetti no sooner swept from the floor of the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis when Georgia football defeated Alabama to claim the 2021 National Championship, the entire college football world already turned its attention to the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas.

The Draft begins on April 28, so there is a lot of work to do beforehand, but that hasn’t stopped  NFL Draft experts from continuing to produce mock drafts.

Even with the NFL season entering its most exciting phase and the Senior Bowl, Shrine game and Combine yet to happen, the mock drafts continue to surface.

However, these mock drafts are eagerly devoured by NFL and college football fans alike keen to find out where their favorite players will play their professional football on Sundays.

Georgia football has multiple players who will likely get drafted, but where will the big names land?

As the 2021 National Champions and with as stout of a defense as we have perhaps ever seen in the college game, there is no doubt that Georgia players will be in hot demand in this year’s NFL Draft.

How much demand? The experts seem in concert that at least three Bulldogs will be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, although as will become clear later in this article, this could rise to as many as five or six first-rounders.

While ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock drafts remain a popular source of debate for fans, it seems sensible to consider the opinions of other NFL Draft analysts to see if there is consensus or disparity of the experts’ views, even at this early stage.

The opinions of Kiper Jr., NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler and Pro Football Network’s Oliver Hodgkinson are taken into account as we look to potential Georgia football first-round NFL Draft selections.

However, it is worth caveating mock drafts by setting out the key assumptions under which they are released. With the NFL playoffs ongoing, only picks 1-24 are currently decided, with the later-round picks still up for grabs.

Secondly, some key events such as the Senior Bowl, Shrine Game, and the NFL Combine are still to happen — these are key events for NFL scouts and coaching staff to assess and confirm their early thoughts on players. Not to mention the NFL days colleges host at their schools where they invite scouts, coaches, and general managers to see their work out.

Where do the experts predict that the Bulldogs will go in the first round?

One of the stars likely to go in the first round is inside linebacker Nakobe Dean.

Unsurprisingly Dean has links to teams in a rebuilding phase of its defense. With Dean’s dominant displays in the championship run, it is no surprise that he will be high on the lists of NFL teams with defensive woes.

Kiper has Dean first off the board, going to the Broncos with the ninth pick. With the Broncos having traded Von Miller to the Rams, they have a chance to make a fundamental change to the roster this year. Dean would add leadership, high football intelligence and incredible athleticism to this Broncos team.

Both Jeremiah and Hodgkinson have Dallas selecting Dean, which is a good fit given the defensive frailties Dallas has suffered recently. Brugler believes the New England Patriots need Dean’s services more than others. Both the Cowboys and Patriots need to fix the defensive side of the ball, with both teams’ seasons prematurely ended by poorly performing defensive units.

As an aside, ESPN’s Todd McShay, who released a very early mock draft in December, had Dean first off the board at the seventh pick to play his football in New York with the Giants.

Then there is Jordan Davis, who has made a significant impact on the college football landscape. Aside from his physical size, Davis has proven to have the talents to match his size and will be high on the list of NFL teams looking to rebuild their defense or upgrade on current talent.

Kiper selects Davis to play in Los Angeles for the Chargers at No. 17, while Jeremiah has him playing in New England for the Patriots at No. 21. As discussed previously, the Patriots are a team that desperately needs to upgrade on its defense.

Brugler has Davis falling as far as the No. 23 pick where the Arizona Cardinals select the big man. Given Davis’s career and how in-demand his defensive skills will be in the NFL, it would be a surprise to see him still on the board that low.

Similarly, the Ravens, who have the No. 14 pick, are a team now in defensive rebuild mode and would be a good fit, something PFN’s Hodgkinson points out.

Given the defensive issues highlighted by the Dallas Cowboys playoff defeat to the 49ers, it is evident that rebuilding its defense will be a priority for Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy or whoever is in charge of the team come April.

Travon Walker is an asset for any team that selects him in the NFL Draft, but the Cowboys is where Kiper believes he will land.

Whether Walker falls as far as pick No. 24 is for debate as Jeremiah has Walker off the board at No. 13 and playing his football in Cleveland. Brugler selects Walker at No. 14 for the Ravens, where the defense will be John Harbaugh’s priority in Baltimore.

Hodgkinson believes Tampa is a likely landing spot for Walker as the Bucs Super Bowl-winning side begins to dismantle.

These are the three names that all appear in the first round on the four mock drafts we reference.

So would any other teams select players from the Georgia football team in the first round of the NFL Draft?

Much will depend on who else is on the board and, most importantly, in which order the final round picks fall. Jeremiah currently predicts Quay Walker to the Titans at the No. 28 pick and Devonte Wyatt playing football in the frozen tundra with the Packers at pick No. 32.

While these are both subjective picks, there is no doubting that this demonstrates how highly thought of this Georgia football defense is. Both of these players but particularly Walker, will easily fit into the NFL and add value from day one, so he could easily be first-round picks.

One player that epitomized the Georgia Bulldogs spirit this year was Lewis Cine. In doing so, Cine elevated himself to become one of the best safeties in this year’s draft class — enough to become a first-round pick? Hodgkinson predicts the Eagles will pick the electric Cine with at No. 16 to play his football in Philadelphia.

Next. Georgia football fans, it’s okay to enjoy the title a little longer. dark

While many more players from this generational defense will get selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, five first-rounders would be a fantastic endorsement of the defense that head coach Kirby Smart has built. With the talent discussed here, the NFL will have a new class of Georgia Bulldogs playing football on Sundays for many seasons to come.