Breakdown of Georgia players on - and left off - Mel Kiper Jr. Big Board and Top 10 position ranks

Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) leaves the field after a win over Vanderbilt in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Georgia won 62-0. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey

ATHENS — Jordan Davis is most often the largest player on the football field, towering tall at 6-foot-6 and weighing in between 340 and 350 pounds, and his level of play has finally become universally noticed.

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. added Davis to his so-called “Big Board” that previews the top prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft, elevating the Georgia football nosetackle to No. 13.

“He’s not just a space eater in the middle of the Bulldogs’ defense — he has the physical tools to beat interior offensive linemen with pass-rushing moves,” Kiper penned in the ESPN-plus pay site article this week.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/draft2022/insider/story/_/id/32305918/nfl-draft-2022-rankings-top-25-prospects-best-position-mel-kiper-big-board-including-matt-corral-malik-willis-spencer-rattler

UGA outside linebacker Adam Anderson fell from No. 16 to No. 21 on the Big Board, which lists the Top 25 players.

Kiper ranked other Georgia players in the Top 10 at their respective positions, but some were left out, as noted by this author:

Quarterback

MG: No JT Daniels in the Top 10? Kiper may want to get ahold of some tape or check in with a Southeastern regional scout. Daniels’ diagnosis and management at the line of scrimmage is brilliant and he has shown NFL arm talent capable of every throw. Daniels’ recent injury issues will be monitored closely.

Running back

No. 8 Zamir White

MG: White’s NFL combine will be make or break, particularly the medical portion. Outside of that, White will need to show special teams prowess to make a roster, much like Elijah Holyfield. The biggest surprise here is that James Cook isn’t in the Top 10. Cook’s pass-catching abilities make him a more valuable pick at RB than White, but White has been the better and more willing special teams contributor.

Wide receivers

No. 10 George Pickens

MG: Pickens gets a bad rap because of his ejection at Georgia Tech and water bottle incident against Tennessee, but behind the scenes he’s one of the most popular players in the clubhouse and an extremely bright and likable young man according to all who interact with him. Pickens is having an ideal rehab from the torn ACL he suffered in March and hopes to come back for the Florida game,

Tight ends

MG: No John FitzPatrick. Fitz isn’t the most athletic guy, but he’s assignment sound and a versatile blocker and pass catcher in the Charlie Woerner mode. He’s also a respected team leader and one of Kirby Smart’s favorite players, as evidenced by his captain designation and multiple media appearances.

Guards

No 2 Jamaree Salyer, No. 10 Justin Shaffer

MG: Salyer is still lining up as an offensive tackle, but that ability to play in space won’t hurt his stock, Salyer is a durable and versatile player that figures to be an immediate starter in the NFL. Shaffer has had some mental lapses with false starts and timely penalties, leaving the jury out as to his NFL future at this early point in the season.

Defensive ends

MG: No Travon Walker? This is just a miss, plain and simple, Walker is an NFL football player.

Defensive tackles

No 1 Jordan Davis

MG: Kiper was late to the part on Davis, which might explain why and how he has yet to recognize Devonte Wyatt. Those who have watched UGA recognize Wyatt as a physical, disruptive force who will be lining up on Sunday’s next season. Davis, meanwhile, will continue to shoot up the big board, a potential Top 5 pick.

Inside linebackers

No. 3 Nakobe Dean

MG: Dean is phenomenal, but like many others, his NFL combine will factor in heavily as scouts judge his size (height) and evaluate his medical chart after his offseason labrum surgery. The fact Quay Walker isn’t in the Top 10 is more evidence Kiper has not watched Georgia football film for himself yet.

Outside linebackers

1. Adam Anderson No. 8 Channing Tindall, No. 9 Nolan Smith

MG: The so-called “Wolfpack” is loaded, and Anderson is as special as they come with his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame and 4.47-time in the 40. Tindall is fast making a name for himself. Smith needs to add size and play the run better before he’s a true dominator.

Cornerbacks

No. 10 Derion Kendrick

MG: Kendrick deserves a great deal of credit for getting his personal issues on track and buying into the team at Georgia, a success story that represents the good in college football as young men grow throughout the process. That said, Kendrick has more work to do to if he’s to maximize his draft potential.

Safeties

No. 4 Lewis Cine

MG: It’s great to see Cine recognized here, but he is still a player on the rise who is perfecting his craft. Cine is draftable, but he’s not a finished product by any means and he will have a decision to make. Christopher Smith is playing himself closer to the Top 10 at this position.

Kickers and punters

No 2 Jake Camarda

MG: It has been a while since I’ve seen a punter dominate and change games like Camarda is capable of doing. It appears the yips that have sidetracked Camarda in big games in past seasons are no longer a thing, as he has grown mentally stronger and more confident in himself.

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