Georgia vs. Alabama: NFL Draft Prospects Playing in CFP Championship 2022

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2022

Georgia vs. Alabama: NFL Draft Prospects Playing in CFP Championship 2022

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    The 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be littered with future NFL talent. 

    The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs have been talent-producing machines over the last few years. 

    Alabama had 10 players selected in the 2021 NFL draft. Six of those players were chosen in the first round and a majority of them made instant impacts at the professional level. 

    Georgia had nine players chosen last April and most of those players came from the defensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs will once again send some fantastic defenders to the NFL, starting with linebacker Nakobe Dean.

    Dean could go head-to-head with Alabama's top prospect, offensive lineman Evan Neal, on a handful of plays as the Bulldogs defense attempts to get pressure on Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. 

    Young is not eligible for the 2022 NFL draft, but his top target on January 10 is expected to extend Alabama's impressive recent first-round history at wide receiver. 

Evan Neal, OL, Alabama

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Every NFL team with a young quarterback should look to Evan Neal for added protection.

    The Alabama offensive lineman was one of the interior stars in the Cotton Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats. He did not allow a sack in 34 pass-blocking snaps in the national semifinal, per Pro Football Focus's Todd McShay ranked Neal as his No. 3 overall prospect behind Oregon Ducks edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

    Neal will be tasked with slowing down Georgia's terrific front seven on January 10. One more dominant performance should solidify his position as the top offensive talent in the draft class. 

    The Jacksonville Jaguars could select Neal to protect Trevor Lawrence for years to come, but they may be more inclined to select Hutchinson or Thibodeaux to improve their defense. 

    The New York Jets and Houston Texans would be ideal landing spots for Neal. The Jets need more help around Zach Wilson and Houston could benefit from placing Neal in front of whomever plays quarterback for the franchise in 2022. 

    Neal will not last long after Thibodeaux and Hutchinson are selected in April and he could be the cornerstone of a NFL offensive line for a decade. 

Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Nakobe Dean is one of the many Georgia defenders that will attempt to break through the wall created by Neal and the Alabama offensive line. 

    Dean recorded four solo tackles in Georgia's first meeting with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. 

    The junior linebacker totaled seven tackles in the Orange Bowl win over the Michigan Wolverines and he will be vital to slowing down Alabama's rushing attack in Indianapolis. 

    McShay ranked Dean as the No. 8 overall prospect and Pro Football Focus' Anthony Treash projected the linebacker to go seventh in his latest mock draft. 

    Dean should be a Top 10 selection in a draft that will be dominated by defensive players at the top. Both New York franchises should zero in on the UGA star with one of their two Top 10 picks. 

    The Jets and Giants could focus on improving their offenses with their first selections and then pivot to defense, or vice-versa. The Jets have the Seattle Seahawks' first-round pick from the Jamal Adams trade and the New York Giants own the Chicago Bears' selection from the deal that brought Justin Fields to the NFC North last year. 

    Dean could be a menace in the middle of any defense for quite some time and he is expected to be the first linebacker off the board. 

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Jameson Williams has an opportunity to boost his NFL draft stock on January 10.

    Williams is currently Alabama's No. 1 wide receiver since John Metchie is out with a torn ACL that he suffered in the last meeting with Georgia. 

    Williams should be Bryce Young's No. 1 target and he could be used more than he was in the Cotton Bowl because of the matchup at hand. 

    The Cincinnati Bearcats have two fantastic defensive backs that limited what Alabama could do through the air. The Crimson Tide opted to dominate the contest through the ground game instead. 

    Williams has the potential for a massive game now that the Crimson Tide are facing a team with interior strength. 

    Williams, an Ohio State transfer, could be the first wide receiver off the board in April. McShay ranked him as the No. 6 overall prospect in the draft class. 

    Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, Williams' former teammates at Ohio State, will also be in the mix to be the first wide out chosen. 

    Williams would be perfect for teams like the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles that could use more help around their young quarterbacks. He will likely land in the middle of the first round and he will not be available long if Olave and/or Wilson are taken ahead of him.