The Bulldogs will busy come draft day and the prospects are as intriguing as ever.
Montez Sweat: Edge Rusher
While Sweat is considered an edge rusher, his quick first step and nose for the ball scream linebacker. Furthermore, let us not forget his record setting 4.41 40 time at the combine. Since then, those in and around the NFL have taken note, thus Sweat’s elevated draft stock. Per his speed alone, Sweat is built for today’s game.
Sweat excels at setting the edge, forcing backs to run east west as opposed to downhill. He can get to the quarterback and disrupt any offensive scheme. Having said that, fit is everything for Sweat, as he must be drafted to a team that is new school and willing to experiment with speed rather than power. Look for Sweat to be off the board within the top 10.
Sweat’s notable stats as a Bulldog include 101 total tackles, 30 for loss, and 22.5 sacks.
Ideal Fit: Denver Broncos
NFL Comparison: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
Jeffery Simmons: Defensive Tackle
While the NFL is no stranger to star Bulldogs at defensive tackle, Simmons will be the next in line behind Chris Jones and Fletcher Cox. Like both, Simmons is a game changer at the line. He is quick to fight off blocks and can make a play on the ball.
Simmons posted 163 total tackles and 33 for loss in his three-year tenure at Mississippi State. Per his versatile skillset, Simmons added seven sacks and five forced fumbles. Look for Simmons to be drafted mid first round and come into the pros raw and ready to add finesse to his game, as modern day NFL defensive lineman must be both agile and competent.
Ideal Fit: Pittsburgh Steelers
NFL Comparison: Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers
Jonathan Abram: Safety
Of all the Bulldogs’ prospects, Abram is the wild card. Abram can cover the field as well as read and get to the quarterback. He stands at six feet and can move. However, Abram, at times, tends to play it safe and not to his full ability. If paired with the right coaches, Abram could elevate himself into a top NFL safety.
In just two years with the Bulldogs Abram recorded 170 total tackles, 96 solo, as he excels in the open field. With two interceptions and 10 passes defensed, Abram’s ceiling is high. Abram should should be selected in the late second or early third round.
Ideal Fit: Indianapolis Colts
NFL Comparison: Glover Quin, Detroit Lions
Jamal Peters: Cornerback
Peters is a flat-out nightmare for opposing receivers. Like Simmons, he will enter the league raw, but has many gifts that make him an immediate threat at the pro level. Peters is a freakish like athlete who can go toe to toe with any wideout. He can stand on his own and lock down an entire side of the field. Moreover, Peters’ length at six-foot-two and gives him a significant advantage as it pertains to length.
Peters stat line as a Bulldog reads as follows: 99 total tackles, 56 solo, three interceptions, 10 passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
His vertical ability is unmatched, as Peters is a natural ballhawk. He moves with the ball but needs to develop more patience. In contrast to Abram, Peters is a risk taker. Furthermore, he plays with a chip on his shoulder Expect Peters to be drafted late in the third round.
Ideal Fit: Seattle Seahawks
NFL Comparison: Richard Sherman
Mark McLaurin: Safety
McLaurin’s stats speak for themselves, as he boasts 224 tackles, 114 solo, ten for loss, 2.5 sacks, eight interceptions, 18 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and three recovered. McLaurin’s nose for the ball is second to none as he is quick off his feet and can get to the quarterback. He is fearless and can deliver game changing tackles and/or sacks.
Like Peters, McLaurin always plays with a chip on his shoulder. McLaurin has something to prove and should come draft day. Like his comparison, McLaurin’s name should be called in the fifth round.
Ideal Fit: Seattle Seahawks
NFL Comparison: Kam Chancellor
Elgton Jenkins: Offensive Lineman
A reliable center is a quarterback’s dream. Jenkins, who is a modern type athlete, plays with a high motor. He can set the tone at the line of scrimmage and will be a force at 310 pounds. Jenkins jumps out of the gate and can take any lineman on the defensive side of the ball.
Jenkins is powerful and high energy. He is unafraid and is sure to frustrate defensive coordinators. Jenkins can set the tone for any franchise, plain and simple. He should be a mid third to early fourth round pick.
Ideal Fit: Miami Dolphins
NFL Comparison: Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers
Nick Fitzgerald: Quarterback
Finally, we come to one of the greatest to ever don the maroon and white, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, a capable dual threat, has been a bit under the radar in draft conversation, as his skillset proves otherwise. At six-foot-five and 226 pounds, Fitzgerald fits right into today’s NFL.
In his four-year Mississippi State tenure, Fitzgerald passed for 6,207 yards with a rating of 122.2. However, his touchdown to interception ratio was 55 to 30. Fitzgerald also rushed for 3,607 total yards and had 46 touchdowns. In short, Fitzgerald was a bit inconsistent as a passer but is well worth the risk, as his stats do show improvement over time.
Look for Fitzgerald to be a fifth round steal.
Ideal Fit: Chicago Bears
NFL Comparison: Mitch Trubisky