New Todd McShay mock draft puts Nolan Smith with the Atlanta Falcons, Jalen Carter slides out of top-10
Few prospects if any had a bigger NFL combine performance than Nolan Smith. It seems to have paid off in a very big way.
In Todd McShay’s latest NFL mock draft, Smith rose all the up to the No. 8 overall pick with the Atlanta Falcons.
“At 238 pounds, he busted out a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, 41.5 inches in the vertical jump and 10-foot-8 in the broad. That’s ridiculous,” McShay wrote. “I love Smith’s closing burst to the QB and the way he can create havoc in the backfield as a run defender. If he works on his pass-rush moves and the way he formulates a plan on every snap, he could be a problem off the edge for opposing offensive coordinators.”
Related: Nolan Smith demonstrates what the new Georgia football standard should look like
Atlanta does not have a strong history of drafting former Georgai players, as prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, the Falcons had last taken a Georgia player in the 2011 NFL Draft. Atlanta used two sixth-round picks on Justin Shaffer and John FitzPatrick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Atlanta will also be bringing back former Bulldog Lorenzo Carter on a two-year deal. He had 4.0 sacks for Atlanta last year.
Elsewhere in McShay’s mock draft, defensive tackle Jalen Carter slid to the No. 12 overall pick with the Houston Texans. Carter was arrested on reckless driving and racing charges last Wednesday. The original incident occurred on the same night that Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy both died.
McShay stressed there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Carter at the moment. The defensive tackle returned to Indianapolis on Thursday and continued to talk with teams. He did not work out at the combine.
“No one I’ve spoken to around the league knows how it will impact his stock or what comes next. It’s likely Carter will fall a bit, but we don’t know how far -- so take this projection with that context,” McShay wrote.
Related: NFL decision-makers weigh in on what’s next for Jalen Carter following arrest
After Smith and Carter, Georgia saw offensive tackle Broderick Jones come off the board with the No. 13 overall pick. Like Smith, he had a strong combine as Jones ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any offensive lineman. He also measured in at 6-foot-5, which was taller than the Georgia roster had previously listed him at.
Georgia had five players taken in the first round of last year’s NFL draft and does have a chance to match that number again. The Bulldogs would need Kelee Ringo and Darnell Washington to both land in the first round. Washington put forth an epic combine performance, while Ringo ran an impressive 4.36 40-yard dash as one of the bigger cornerbacks in the draft class.
Georgia’s pro day will give these players another chance to showcase what they can do going forward. Georgia’s pro day is set for March 15.
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