Tennessee vs. Georgia: Breaking Down 1st-Round NFL Draft Talent in SEC Clash

Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 29, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: Justin Hunter #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers during pregame warm-ups before their game against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
John Sommers II/Getty Images

Although the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs are expected to dispatch the formerly-ranked Tennessee Volunteers in Week 5 of the college football slate, there's plenty of SEC talent on both sides to make this one anyone's game.

Georgia looks to continue their march towards an undefeated SEC title game matchup with whoever emerges from the SEC West, while Tennessee looks to bounce back from a tough 37-20 loss to the Florida Gators.

As expected with SEC recruiting, there's plenty of talent to go around for both of these teams. Here's a highlighted look at the major prospects for both schools, all of which have the talent and a shot to go in the first-round of the 2013 NFL Draft.



Junior QB Tyler Bray

Bray has been one of the best in the country at his position so far in 2012, although in the loss to Florida he proved he still has some work to do, to be considered elite.

Yet, all the numbers are up through four games, including the ever-important completion percentage. He has already thrown for 1300 yards on a 63.5 percent rate, including 12 touchdowns to only three interceptions.

Though down on the list, behind Matt Barkley and the struggling Landry Jones, Bray has just has much talent as any QB in the class. If he stays for a senior season, he might be the top overall selection in 2014.


Junior WR Justin Hunter

Hunter is coming off a devastating ACL injury as a sophomore, yet has shown no ill effects from that injury this year. He has caught roughly a third of the completions, yardage and touchdowns from Bray this season, and he's simply in a different class against the rest of competition.

Time will tell if SEC secondaries are able to shut him down. We haven't seen him against superior talent, although a five catch, 76 yard performance against Florida certainly wasn't a bad day. Hunter is a name to keep an eye on, and he'll have most opposing coordinators game-planning to take him out of the Tennessee offense.



Senior LB Jarvis Jones

Widely considered a top-five pick, the best linebacker in the country has done it all this season. From rushing the passer, to playing against the run and even stopping the pass. His nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and interception performance against Missouri, helped put that whole "old-man" thing to rest.

ESPN did a great cover on Jones' path to stardom this week, which included a stop at USC and a major injury before coming into his own at Georgia. He'll be all over the field against the 'Vols, and you can bet he'll be a difference maker on Saturdays and Sundays for a long time.


Senior DT John Jenkins

A load in the middle at 6'3", 355 pounds, Jenkins is a natural nose guard who creates havoc for offense line scheming. He'll be a 3-4 DT in the NFL, and should sneak into the first round, especially if teams are looking to upgrade at the position.

Watch him closely on Saturday, especially on that interior matchup between Tennessee's O-Line vs. Georgia's D-Line. Lots of talent on both, and it could be a key in the game. If Jenkins can disrupt the Tennessee running game and make life difficult for Bray, things could get real ugly, real quick.


Junior S Baccari Rambo

Saddled with a four-game suspension after violating the team's substance abuse policy, Rambo is expected to make his return today, though coach Mark Richt is playing it close to the chest.  

Rambo is a ball-hawking safety who totaled seven interceptions to lead the nation in 2011, and he has got obvious talent as both a coverage safety and at making the bit hit. There are character issues, as evidenced with the suspension, but his talent level is so high that it might not matter.

The extra curricular is going to remind people of Janoris Jenkins, but Rambo might be the steal of the draft. If he returns today against Tennessee, he'll make an immediate impact and force Bray to be on point in this Derek Dooley offense.