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CBS Draft Expert Predicts FIVE Georgia Bulldogs in 1st Round

March 7, 2023
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ATHENS - Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs had a record-breaking day at the 2022 NFL Draft last season, and according to CBS NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson, the Bulldogs are on their way to another outstanding day in next April’s NFL Draft.

The Bulldogs had five players selected in the first round last year, and Wilson believes five more Bulldogs are bound to hear their names called in the first round once again next month.

Here’s how Wilson sees the 1st round playing out...

The first Bulldog off the board in Wilson’s latest mock draft is defensive tackle Jalen Carter, selected at No. 5 to the Seattle Seahawks.

“Jalen Carter, who was arguably the best defender on a 2021 Georgia defense that had five first-round picks, would be an easy pick for the Seahawks here”, Wilson wrote. “He left the combine only to return less than 24 hours later after meeting with Athens police. Where he is ultimately drafted remains an unknown, but he is a special talent, one who would be teaming up with pass-rush specialist Brandon Jordan, who was just hired by Seattle.”

Carter has +300 odds to be the first defensive lineman selected in April’s 2023 NFL Draft according to FanDuel.



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Wilson has EDGE defender Nolan Smith coming off the board next at No. 17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Smith had a near-perfect NFL Combine performance, running a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash along with a 41.5-inch vertical at 6-foot-3 238-pounds. 

“Nolan Smith missed part of the 2022 season with a pectoral injury, but he's an electric pass-rusher when healthy”, Wilson wrote. “He's also a freakish athlete -- he ripped off a 4.39 40 at the combine (and was mad about running too slow!). That motor is all over his tape, and while the Steelers have other needs, Smith might be too good to pass up here.”

 

Next off the board is elite offensive tackle Broderick Jones, who Wilson thinks will be selected by the Tamp Bay Buccaneers with the 19th overall pick in the 1st round. At 6-foot-4 310-pounds, Jones was a former five-star prospect out of Lithonia (GA) who more than lived up to the hype during his three-year Bulldog career.

“Broderick Jones had a strong 2022 campaign for the Bulldogs, where he faced some of the best defensive players in the country every day at practice for the last two years”, Wilson wrote. “He's not yet a finished product, but he has the athleticism and strength to be a difference-maker when he puts it all together.”



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A few picks later, Wilson has Kelee Ringo going to the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd overall pick. An all-time Bulldog cornerback who helped secure Georgia’s 2021 national championship, Ringo is a big cornerback at 6-foot-2 207-pounds with plenty of speed, running a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash.

“The Georgia-to-first-round pipeline continues”, Wilson wrote. “A year after five Bulldogs went in Round 1, expect a handful this time around, too. Ringo is a long, physical corner who has matched up against some of the best players in the country.”

 

Lastly comes Darnell Washington, who Wilson believes will be drafted by the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles with the 30th selection. Washington had an eye-opening NFL Combine, showing plenty of speed in his 6-foot-7 264-pound frame. An elite run blocker and a promising pass-catcher, Washington is a big target with 11-inch hands and about an 84-inch wingspan. The former 5-star prospect from Las Vegas could really thrive in the right system at the next level.

“At the combine, Darnell Washington came in at 6-foot-6 1/2, 264 pounds with 11-inch hands and nearly an 84-inch wingspan”, Wilson wrote. “And while he's growing into his role as a receiver, he's essentially another offensive tackle when he's inline. Basically, he'd serve two roles in Kansas City: receiver in a high-powered offense and an extra blocker.”


 
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