While the 2022 NFL Draft is still far off in the distance, players that will be drafted early are on the field now. Each week presents unique matchups for draft prospects and this week is no different. Here are NFL Draft prospects to watch in conference championship week.
1. George Pickens, WR, Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia has had a great season that has led them to the SEC Championship Game. They have done so largely without George Pickens, who tore his ACL in the spring. He has since returned to the lineup and Kirby Smart is excited about the juice he can bring to the offense. Pickens only has one catch for five yards on the season.
At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Pickens has good size and has made some great catches in his career. He will have a tough test against Alabama and he will also have to prove that he is healthy. Pickens was viewed as a possible first-round prospect before the injury and could recoup some of his stock with good games to end the season.
2. Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia Bulldogs
The defensive line for Georgia has so much talent. That’s part of the reason multiple Bulldogs are featured in this edition. Travon Walker and Jordan Davis have already been talked about, but Georgia has a third interior lineman to watch in Devonte Wyatt. He has six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks on the season, but has really helped the defense create havoc.
At 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, Wyatt can take on and beat double teams. With Alabama’s line struggling against Auburn, Wyatt can be a key to a Georgia victory in the SEC Championship. Wyatt is currently projected to be a second or third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
3. Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia Bulldogs
Kendrick has played in some big games over the course of his career. He started his career at Clemson and was able to beat the Tigers this season with Georgia. His transferring to Georgia before the season helped the defense, as they lost three corners to the 2021 NFL Draft. The former receiver has 32 total tackles, three passes defended and two interceptions.
He is 6-foot and 190 pounds, which means he will likely need to add a little weight for the next level. Kendrick does have good instincts, which may come from his start as a receiver at Clemson. Alabama has a high-powered offense and Kendrick will go against some really talented receivers. He is currently projected to be a day two pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
4. Evan Neal, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama stayed alive against Auburn and now have to upset Georgia in the SEC Championship to make the CFP. Their best offensive player has been left tackle Evan Neal, who has helped them put up points all season long, even if they did struggle against Auburn. He will have his hands full against a very talented Georgia defense this week.
At 6-foot-7 and 350 pounds, Neal is massive, but he still moves well for a tackle. He has played so well, despite the rest of the line having some struggles. Neal is a projected top-five pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and has a chance to protect the blindside of an NFL quarterback for a long time.
5. Abram Smith, RB, Baylor Bears
The Baylor program has been turned around very quickly under Dave Aranda. They run the ball and play defense well, which has aided them in their quest for a Big 12 Championship. Abram Smith, a former linebacker, has been a star at running back for the Bears. He has 215 carries for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. Smith also had 12 catches for 69 yards.
He has a good build for a running back, as a former linebacker at 5-foot-11 and 226 pounds. Smith runs hard and isn’t the easiest to tackle. His stock has risen so much this season after many didn’t know what to expect after the position change. He is currently projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
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