Which Georgia football players are invited to the 2023 NFL Combine?
Twelve month’s ago, the University of Georgia set Draft records with 15 players entering the 2022 NFL Draft. This year the Georgia football conveyor belt is set to take center stage again with 12 players invited to the 2023 NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Having 27 players in the Draft cycle within a 12-month period is nothing short of incredible and is a testament to the work that Kirby Smart and his coaching staff put in each day with the players.
So who should Georgia fans be watching out for over the 6 days of the NFL Combine? Well, very few of these names will shock you as they are now household names. Winning back-to-back National Championships will do that for you. These guys are stars.
Here’s a peek at all the Bulldogs who will be taking that next step toward their NFL Dreams.
These Georgia football players will be at the 2023 NFL Combine
Perhaps the most intriguing Combine invitee is former Bulldogs quarterback, Stetson Bennett. 12 months ago few, if any, gave Bennett any chance of a career in the NFL. Spring forward a year and at worst, Bennett is an intriguing prospect.
The truth is, NFL Draft scouts are now looking seriously at Bennett. It is his “intangibles” that have the NFL scouts fixated on Bennett’s eventual combine performance. Of course, the physical tests might not be in Bennett’s favor, although he does have speed.
His decision not to participate in the Senior Bowl may still come back to haunt him, but my guess is that the interviews and time spent with NFL front offices will be where Bennett’s NFL future is decided.
Jalen Carter and Broderick Jones
Jalen Carter and Broderick Jones will show the Combine what incredible athletes they are. I am still of the firm belief that both of these athletes are first-round draft picks and I expect top 5 draft picks – that’s how good these guys are.
If the Chicago Bears can get past this silly notion that Justin Fields is not their quarterback, then the Bears should not be trading this pick. Jalen Carter should be a Chicago Bear on the 27th of April. If this doesn’t happen, report it to the Kansas City Police Department. It would be that much of a crime.
Add Broderick Jones not going in the top 10. Offensive Tackle is such a prized position to fill and we have seen numerous tackles be picked early in previous drafts. Just ask Andrew Luck how important it is to have a great offensive line. That’s why Broderick Jones will go early on in the draft.
Darnell Washington, Nolan Smith, and Kelee Ringo
Strong showings by this trio could well turn the Draft upside down. All three have work to do but good performances will propel them up the NFL Draft boards.
Darnell Washington is an enigma and is already high on some draft boards. Washington could very well be a first-round pick due to his size and athleticism. The way Georgia used him in their offensive scheme absolutely allows Washington to fit into the NFL. A strong outing from Washington in Indianapolis might have all 32 teams interested in him.
Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo have suffered from injuries, something scouts and front offices will be focused on. Ringo became a hot ticket the moment he intercepted that final ball in the 2022 National Championship game. His 2023 season showed everyone that this was no fluke. Ringo too has the potential to rise high in the Draft.
Nolan Smith is the leader of this Georgia football team, playing or not. His final season in Athens was ruined early by injury relegating Smith to chief motivator. But this is disingenuous to Smith.
In the same vein as Bennett, Smith’s intangibles must be intriguing to scouts. We have seen enough from Smith’s playing time to know how good a footballer he is. But add in his leadership skills and he sits above the rest. If you watch one player at the Combine, watch Nolan Smith.
Christopher Smith, Warren McClendon, and Robert Beal
Chris Smith and Warren McClendon played in the East-West Shrine Bowl with Robert Beal going down to Mobile to play in the Senior Bowl. Smart choices by this trio who shone in these show-off games.
As Georgia fans, we all know that these guys are the real deal. Chris Smith may also be a first-round pick – he should be and his performance in the Bowl game confirmed this. Robert Beal was a key part of a historic Georgia defense which should see him selected probably on Saturday and if that is the case then it represents real value for the draft pick. His performance in Indianapolis will be watched closely.
McClendon has value as an offensive lineman with his Bowl game showing how good he can be. The price to pay for NFL teams looking for an Offensive Tackle can be high so McClendon performing well at the Combine could propel him up draft boards. There is a lot to be won by this trio coming out strong in Indianapolis. Keep an eye on these guys this week.
Kenny McIntosh and Kearis Jackson
Wide receivers will get the chance to show what they are made of on Saturday, March 4th and running backs on Sunday, March 5th.
Coming from what is now considered Running Back U, there has been pressure on McIntosh’s shoulders ever since he first stepped foot on campus. However, McIntosh isn’t your prototypical running back, having morphed into the new hybrid back which the NFL uses heavily – Austin Eckler and Alvin Kamara being two fantastic examples.
Both players are as comfortable catching the ball as running with it. Or should I put this another way, they catch the ball and then run with it. Yards after the catch is such a prominent stat nowadays because of these types of players. Kenny McIntosh fits right into this mold and his NFL Combine showing will focus on versatility.
Kearis Jackson proved over his five seasons in Athens just how valuable he can be in the wide receiver position. In 2022 Jackson averaged nearly 21 yards on punt returns, making Jackson an intriguing prospect on special teams. This versatility can see his prominence increasing if he can demonstrate his flexibility during the Combine.
Last but not least, the 12th Georgia Bulldog invited to the 2023 NFL Combine is Bulldog kicker, Jack Podlesny, who took over the difficult job of replacing Bulldog legend, Rodrigo Blankenship
Not only is Podlesny a very accurate kicker but his leadership skills are there for everyone to see. This was evident at the Senior Bowl and Scouts will be keen to meet with Podlesny over the course of the week. It’s hard for kickers to get drafted, but something about Podlesny makes him stand out. Special teams players will perform at the Combine on Friday 3rd March.