Georgia football is going to prove once again in the 2022 NFL Draft just how talented its 2021 football team was.
After avenging their SEC championship game loss to Alabama to win the program’s first national title since 1980, the Bulldogs are now on the cusp of producing one of the greatest NFL draft classes of all time — the majority of which will come from that otherworldly defense.
Georgia has numerous draft-eligible players, which puts the program in contention for multiple NFL draft records. Those include most first-round selections (six, a record currently owned by Miami and Alabama’s 2004 and 2021 draft classes, respectively); most overall selections (14, owned by Ohio State and LSU’s 2004 and 2020 draft classes, respectively); and most selections in the first three rounds (10, owned by Ohio State and LSU’s 2016 and 2020 classes, respectively).
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The biggest of those players, literally, is Jordan Davis, the centerpiece and face of Georgia’s dominant defense. Other players who are likely to hear their names called include Travon Walker, Nakobe Dean, Devonte Wyatt, Lewis Cine, Quay Walker and more.
Only time will tell where these Bulldogs find themselves playing at the next level. Until then, The Sporting News breaks down potential landing spots and team fits ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft:
NFL Georgia mock draft 2022
Travon Walker, DE/DT
Lions, No. 2 overall, first round
Despite rumors the Jaguars are enamored with Walker (which they could be), they ultimately decide to go with Aidan Hutchinson. No matter: Detroit takes Walker with the next pick. He’s a big, violent and explosive disruptor who can play inside and set the edge but who lacks the pure pass-rush ability of Hutchinson, Kavyon Thibodeaux and Jermaine Johnson III.
Nakobe Dean, LB
Eagles, No. 15 overall, first round
The Eagles need to improve their linebackers corps and pass rush this offseason. Dean, listed at 5-11, 230 pounds, satisfies both of those needs in one pick. He was one of the best off-ball linebackers in college football and played with a speed that allowed him to defend sideline to sideline. Moreover, he had 31 pressures and seven sacks in 2021.
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Jordan Davis, DT
Chargers, No. 17 overall, first round
Davis’ pure size (6-6, 340 pounds) made him one of the draft’s most intriguing players. His dominance at a 2-technique at Georgia made him a first-round pick. And his incredible combine workout made him a consensus top-20 pick. He has been projected as high as No. 12 to the Vikings, but he won’t make it past the Chargers at 17, considering they have a huge need to improve their run defense that surrendered 4.6 yards per carry in 2021.
BIG MAN [email protected] DL @jordanxdavis99 with an UNREAL 4.82u at 341 lbs. 😱📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/aEVRSssbOC
— NFL (@NFL) March 5, 2022
Devonte Wyatt, DT/DE
Buccaneers, No. 27 overall, first round
Wyatt has the unfortunate distinction of being the “other lineman” in Georgia’s fearsome draft class, but he has first-round qualities all his own. He’s incredibly strong for his 6-3, 315-pound frame and has the versatility to play inside as run support or move outside to set the edge/rush the passer. He’s described as not a true gap-plugger, but that is mitigated by the presence of Vita Vea and, potentially, Ndamukong Suh on the interior.
Lewis Cine, S
Jaguars, No. 33 overall, second round
Cine could very well be the fifth Georgia defender taken in the first round, but we feel he slips one spot out from that distinction. The Jaguars, who passed over Walker with the first overall pick, take their first Bulldog in the second round to shore up a safety position that currently includes Rayshawn Jenkins and Andrew Wingard. Cine is a productive player who has more of a downhill demeanor than ball-hawking safety.
George Pickens, WR
Colts, No. 42 overall, second round
The Colts don’t have a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but get a first round-caliber player of need with their first pick in George Pickens. A torn ACL pushed him back as a Day 2 consideration, though he has received considerable attention as a possible late first-rounder. Indianapolis would love to nab this weapon for Matt Ryan, as he’s a long-bodied, fast receiver with great ball skills and a large catch radius.
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Quay Walker, LB
Commanders, No. 47 overall, second round
The Commanders have a significant need at linebacker, which they address with their second overall pick (after selecting a receiving weapon for new quarterback Carson Wentz in the first round). The 6-4, 241-pound Quay Walker was instrumental in Georgia’s national championship defense, totaling 65 tackles, 5 1/2 for loss, and 1 1/2 sacks. He’ll need to adjust to Washington’s 4-3 scheme, but has shown the versatility and physicality to handle the transition.
James Cook, RB
Bills, No. 89 overall, third round
The younger brother of Dalvin Cook has a similar frame at 5-11, 190 pounds, and has terrific speed that shows up in his playing style. Moreover, he has considerably less wear on him than some other running backs in this class, combining for only 230 carries in four seasons at Georgia. Despite that, he averages 6.5 yards per carry and has shown an ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Buffalo has a need for a quality running back behind Devin Singletary, who is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Channing Tindall, LB
Broncos, No. 96 overall, third round
The Broncos don’t have a glaring need at this position (needing instead to address depth concerns at cornerback and defensive line). But if Tindall falls to them at No. 96 overall, the Broncos may consider taking a look at him, especially with outside linebacker Bradley Chubb entering a pivotal fifth year of his rookie contract.
Derion Kendrick, CB
Eagles, No. 101 overall, third round
Derion Kendrick could be a later option for the Eagles to find a cornerback opposite Darius Slay (or, at the least, find a solid depth addition). The three-year starter at Clemson transferred to Georgia and continued to show draft-worthy tape. He was a productive college player who has demonstrated versatility and athleticism, but the NFL may test his relative lack of speed.
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Zamir White, RB
White, the top running back in the 2018 recruiting class, has suffered ACL tears to both of his knees, which could scare teams off him. That said, it doesn’t appear to have overly affected the former track athlete, who ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the combine. He’s more of a north-south thumper and less of a pass-catcher, but could complement running back/receiver hybrid Cordarrelle Patterson.
Jamaree Salyer, OT
Jaguars, No. 157 overall, fifth round
Salyer was a solid two-year starter at left tackle for Georgia, but his 6-4, 325-pound frame suggests an interior move. He has been projected by some as a potential Day 2 pick, but athletic limitations may cause him to drop lower. That said, the Jaguars have a need for an interior lineman (center, specifically). Salyer, who has taken snaps at all five positions across the line, could step in and challenge for a starting spot, though it’s more likely he develops as a rotational player or backup.
Justin Shaffer, OG
Bears, No. 186 overall, sixth round
Shaffer is a mauler at guard who lacks the athleticism or consistency to challenge as a starter. That said, Chicago has a need to improve the interior of its offensive line, and if nothing else Shaffer can slot in as a backup or rotational player.