College Football Championship 2022: Top Georgia vs. Alabama NFL Draft Prospects

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2022

College Football Championship 2022: Top Georgia vs. Alabama NFL Draft Prospects

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    A lot of the names Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will be calling in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship will be the same names NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is reading out early in the 2022 draft.

    It's no small coincidence that both Alabama and Georgia are playing for the national championship and that both are among the top five schools at producing NFL talent. At the beginning of the 2021 NFL season, there were 53 former Crimson Tide players in the league and 35 Bulldogs.

    Come spring, both of those numbers are going to be boosted.

    Taking a look at the top 32 of the latest big board from B/R's panel of draft experts, several players set to feature in the national championship game appear:

    Thirteen players from either Georgia or Alabama are among the top 100. Here's a look at the leading candidates and what they will bring to the game. 

OT Evan Neal, Alabama

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    Those looking for a cornerstone offensive lineman in the draft need look no further than Evan Neal. The 6'7" 350-pound tackle is an earthmover in the run game but is agile enough to keep his quarterback clean.

    According to Pro Football Focus, Neal only surrendered 22 pressures in two seasons at both right and left tackle for Alabama.

    The offensive line hasn't been at Alabama's typical standards for stretches of this season. However, they played incredibly well against the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game. They conceded no sacks, which allowed Bryce Young the time he needed to hurt the secondary.

    Neal acknowledged that the offensive line can't just assume that will happen again against a Georgia front that has notched 45 sacks on the season.

    "It's going to take us going out there and working every day," Neal said, per Charlie Potter of 247Sports. "Like I said, it starts in practice and preparation leading up to the game. Every game's a new game. Every game has an identity of its own. Just excited to be able to go out there, do it again, play on a national stage again."

    Neal's ability to create lanes in the run game and keep Young clean will be pivotal in the offense having success.

DT Jordan Davis, Georgia

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    Georgia has its own goliath in the trenches. Jordan Davis is 6'6", 340 pounds and a serious problem for opposing offensive lines.

    Davis may be the best pure nose tackle prospect in recent memory. Not only does he routinely eat up double teams so Georgia's linebackers can roam free, but he's also not too bad at running down the occasional play himself.

    The big man single-handedly shut down an outside zone against Michigan in a terrifying display of athleticism.

    The Alabama offense may have had a good night against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but that wasn't a product of the run game. The Tide averaged just 3.5 yards per carry with their backs. Young's three carries for 40 yards made the rushing totals look much better.

    For Georgia to have a shot in the CFP championship game, it will be crucial for it to once again stop the run and hope it can life a little more difficult for Young. Davis will play a big role in the first part.

WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    Jameson Williams figures to be one of the biggest factors in the national championship game.

    When Alabama won the SEC Championship Game over Georgia, it was in part down to Williams torching the Bulldogs defense to the tune of seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

    His ability to make big plays is one of the reasons B/R's scouting department tabbed him as the receiver with the "best speedin the class. They have him as the third-best receiver in the class, right behind his former Ohio State teammate Chris Olave.

    On the season he has nine touchdown catches of more than 40 yards.

    The question is whether his impact on the game will be slowed at all by the fact that fellow Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III will be out of the game. He was injured in the SEC title game, but not before he contributed six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

    Alabama obviously has other talented receivers, but Georgia will be able to allocate more cover toward Williams without Metchie on the field. It will be good for NFL talent evaluators to see what Williams does opposite a solid defense that is able to focus more on containing him.

LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

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    Off-ball linebackers can be controversial in terms of their draft value. In today's NFL, traditional linebackers aren't typically valued in the way they used to be.

    It's no longer enough to just be a phenomenal run-stuffer. NFL defensive coordinators need linebackers who can be an asset against the pass as well. Unless you're Micah Parsons and happen to also be an elite edge-rusher, that means showing some coverage skills.

    Nakobe Dean has shown he can do that and will get another big opportunity against Alabama.

    Dean scored the highest overall defensive grade and posted a 91.5 coverage grade in the semifinal against Michigan, per PFF.

    Despite the result on the scoreboard, Dean made plays against the Crimson Tide in the first matchup. He had two pass deflections, two quarterback hurries and a tackle for a loss with five tackles overall.

    The Dawgs will need him flying around the field once more. If he can continue to make plays against one of the best passing attacks in the country, there's no reason why he shouldn't be a top-15 pick in the spring.