041721 Athens: Georgia quarterback JT Daniels has protection across the offensive line as he gets off a pass during the G-Day Game at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Athens. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Georgia and JT Daniels doubted by some, ‘Way-Too-Early’ 2022 projection suggests otherwise

ATHENS — Georgia quarterback JT Daniels won’t play another game until Sept. 4 when he lines up across from Clemson. The Tigers will be led by Daniels’ old high school rival, D.J. Uiagalelei.

RELATED: JT Daniels vs. D.J. Uiagelelei in superpowered SoCal prep rivalry

But that doesn’t mean the Bulldogs’ quarterback isn’t competing right now — if only with himself — as he looks to tighten elements of his game and make subtle adjustments with his mechanics through his annual work with QB guru Jordan Palmer.

Daniels doesn’t seem to lack for motivation, but in the event he’s having a slow day, the Sporting News 2022 NFL Draft QB Rankings could provide just the right push.

Not only is Daniels not considered the top quarterback prospect, but USC’s Kedon Slovis has been ranked ahead of him by the Sporting News along with the Cincinnati quarterback he out-dueled to win the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl:

RELATED: JT Daniels stayed California Cool on game-winning bowl drive

1. Sam Howell, North Carolina

2. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

3. Kedon Slovis, USC

4. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

5. Tyler Shough, Texas Tech

6. JT Daniels, Georgia

7. Matt Corral, Ole Miss

8. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State

9. Brock Purdy, Iowa State

Still, the 2021 NFL Draft was a record-breaker for the Bulldogs with nine players chosen, including former three-star cornerback Eric Stokes going in the first round.

Only Alabama and Ohio State had more players picked, producing 10 each.

RELATED: Why Georgia will bypass Alabama in 2022 NFL Draft

But the 2022 NFL Draft figures to belong to Georgia with another school record for players chosen if this UGA team handles the offseason in proper fashion.

Team leaders like Daniels and defensive tackle Jordan Davis need to be in top form, which is why it was so concerning Smart felt the need to challenge Davis to keep his weight down after he went through spring drills 10 pounds too heavy.

The good news is there are plenty of other Georgia team leaders who can and will lead verbally and by example, many of them who look to be high-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

RELATED: Nakobe Dean ‘working for something bigger than every one of us’

Here’s a “Way-Too-Early” look at Georgia’s top 2022 NFL Draft prospects, and others who might also end up being selected should they decide to declare themselves eligible for the draft.

The players are listed under the categories of their ceilings — the highest they could possibly be taken in 2022:

Day One (First Round)

QB JT Daniels

WR George Pickens

DT Jordan Davis

DT Devonte Wyatt

LB Nakobe Dean

SS Lewis Cine

DL Travon Walker

OLB Adam Anderson

Day Two (Rounds 2-3)

DE Nolan Smith

OG Jamaree Salyer

LB Quay Walker

OG Justin Shaffer

RB James Cook

RB Kenny McIntosh

RB Zamir White

Day Three (Rounds 4-7)

FS Christopher Smith

LB Channing Tindall

LB Robert Beal

WR Demetris Robertson

DL Julian Rochester

CB Ameer Speed

P Jake Camarda