The Georgia Bulldogs are once again national champions. Georgia football is enjoying arguably the greatest period in its history in the early 2020s for several reasons. The coaching of Kirby Smart and company and the underrated quarterback play of Stetson Bennett are two of these reasons. However, the biggest reason is the abundance of NFL-level talent on the Bulldogs’ roster. Last season, the NFL drafted 15 Georgia players, including five defensive players in the first round, which are both NFL records. In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Georgia Bulldogs football program won’t reach those heights. They will have quite a few players move on to the next level, though. In this still-too-early NFL mock draft, let’s look at where the Bulldogs could go, starting with Jalen Carter.
One note on this 2022 Georgia mock draft is that only the first 18 picks of the first round are currently set. All other spots are approximations based on how teams finished the regular season.
Arizona Cardinal, No. 4: DT Jalen Carter
Jalen Carter might be the best defensive tackle to come out of college since Aaron Donald in 2014. That year, 12 teams passed on the Pittsburgh star. In the 2023 NFL Draft, teams won’t make the same mistake. The Cardinals will scoop up Carter — who is No. 3 on ESPN‘s Todd McShay’s Big Board — at No. 4, immediately replacing J.J. Watt with another incredible disruptor up front.
Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 17: OT Broderick Jones
The Bulldogs left tackle didn’t allow a single sack on Stetson Bennett this season and is a ferocious run blocker. At 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, he may ultimately fit better at guard in the NFL, but he’s a high-floor offensive line prospect who will get a chance to compete for the Steelers starting left tackle gig in 2023.
Jacksonville Jaguars No. 21: CB Kelee Ringo
Kelee Ringo isn’t the most polished CB in the first round, but at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds with blazing track speed, he may be the most physically impressive, Jaguars GM Trent Baalke loves measurable over all else, and the big fast Georgia corner would be a great fit on the Jags’ athletic defense.
Kansas City Chiefs, No. 30: EDGE Nolan Smith
There are some injury concerns around Nolan Smith, but without those, he’s probably a top-10 pick. That said, Smith’s tough season will serve him well in the end as he goes to a team in this Georgia mock draft where he will continue to compete for championships every year on the opposite side of the defensive line from last year’s first-round pick, George Karlaftis.
New England Patriots, No. 46: TE Darnell Washington
Thirteen years ago in the NFL draft, Bill Belichick took a tight end out of Arizona in the second round with rare gifts as a solution to his pass-catcher problem. That pick turned into four-time Super Bowl champ and eventual Hall of Famer, Rob Gronkowski. In this NFL mock draft, Belichick tries to catch that lightning in a bottle again with 6-foot-7, 275-pound TE Darnell Washington.
Los Angeles Rams, No. 69: C Sedrick Van Pran
After selling out to win the Super Bowl, the Rams had one of the biggest Big Game hangovers of all time. The Rams need talent at every position and don’t have a ton of picks to do it. Locking down (literally and figuratively) the center of the offense seems like a good place to start. Sedrick Van Pran is a third-round pick who could anchor an NFL offensive line for a decade or more, just like he led the big guys up front for Georgia football this season.
Las Vegas Raiders, No. 70: S Chris Smith II
Chris Smith is a first-round NFL draft talent in a sixth-rounder’s body. He’s listed at 5-foot-11, 194 pounds, and may not be that big. However, he plays like a giant and is a huge ballhawk. Smith is a perfect fit with the Raiders, who need a safety and finished last in the NFL in 2022 with just 13 takeaways.
New York Giants, No. 124: RB Kenny McIntosh
Whether the Giants re-sign Saquon Barkley or not, they need another back to take some of the load off their star. Kenny McIntosh is a perfect fit here as a back with a lot of tread left on the tires who can carry the ball to give Barkley a break, and the offense won’t lose a ton of explosiveness.
Green Bay Packers, No. 217: WR Kearis Jackson
The Georgia football slot receiver doesn’t have ideal NFL speed but knows how to operate in the middle of the field. Whether the Packers QB next season is Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love, they will need a few more pass-catchers in the NFL draft, and Kearis Jackson is a nice complement to Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson.
Atlanta Falcons, No. 239: QB Stetson Bennett
Somehow, the Falcons will end up with the last pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and will pick the 11th and final player in this Georgia mock draft. After the success of brock Purdy, an NFL team will look to take a QB at the “Mr. Irrelavant” spot, and the Falcons will keep Stetson Bennett at home. Bennett is two years older than current Falcons QB Desmond Ridder, but he’s made a career of exceeding expectations, and who knows, maybe he’ll do the same in the NFL.