The 2023 NFL Draft is getting closer by the day, and many Georgia Football prospects are looking to increase their draft stock. Arguably the best way to do that is through the NFL Scouting Combine, and Georgia will have a huge presence at the event. Twelve Bulldogs received invites to the Combine, the second most of any program behind Alabama’s 13. For many, Georgia is the new leader (or dawg, if you will) in college football, and the amount of NFL talent on the roster is certainly indicative of that.
In just two weeks, 𝟏𝟐 Dawgs will be back in Indy!#NFLMerge from March 2 to 5 in @nflnetwork#GoDawgspic.twitter.com/JX2hbB0ZLf
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) February 16, 2023
Georgia Football NFL Draft Prospects Invited To Combine
Jalen Carter – Defensive tackle
Jalen Carter is considered by many to be the best defensive player in the draft and a solid contender for first overall. According to FanDuel, Carter has the third best odds for the first pick in the draft, behind only quarterbacks Bryce Young and CJ Stroud. If the Chicago Bears, who don’t need quarterbacks, hang on to the No. 1 pick (and don’t trade Justin Fields for some reason), then Carter could easily be the No. 1 pick.
Carter played 38 games in three seasons at Georgia, tallying 83 tackles, 18.5 TFL and six sacks. The All-SEC lineman is ranked as the best defensive tackle and the third best overall player in ESPN’s best available ratings.
Kelee Ringo – Cornerback
Kelee Ringo is one of the top cornerbacks in the draft class of 2023. The redshirt sophomore is ranked as the third-best cornerback and 17th-best player overall in ESPN rankings, which means he should go halfway through the first round. Despite ranking third in his position, the margin between him and the top two, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., is slim.
Ringo has played in all 30 games for Georgia over the past two seasons, racking up 76 tackles, 19 pass defenses and four interceptions. Easily the most iconic moment of his career was his game-sealing pick-six in the 2022 National Championship Game against Alabama.
Georgia fans, rejoice.
With Alabama driving to potentially tie the game, Kelee Ringo picks off Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and returns it 79 yards for the touchdown.
That almost seals it. 33-18, Friends. pic.twitter.com/DjMuJkDis9
—Taylor Tannebaum (@TaylorTannebaum) January 11, 2022
Broderick Jones – Offensive tackle
Broderick Jones is another Georgia player projected to advance to the first round. The redshirt sophomore ranks as the fourth-best offensive tackle and 20th-best player overall in ESPN’s rankings, placing him in the middle of the first round. With so many teams needing help on the offensive line, Jones should fit the bill as an immediate starter in the NFL.
The 2022 season was Jones’ first full season as a starting left tackle, and he excelled. He didn’t allow a sack all season, earning him First Team All-SEC honors.
Nolan Smith – Linebacker
Nolan Smith is one of the best linebacker prospects in the class and has an outside shot to go in the first round. ESPN ranks him as the fourth-best outside linebacker and the 42nd-best player overall in their rankings. The senior has been a staple of Georgia’s defense for years, and now he hopes to carry that success over to the NFL level.
During his four-year career, Smith amassed 114 total tackles, 21 TFLs, and 11.5 sacks. He suffered an injury that caused him to miss the second half of the 2022 season, which probably caused his stock to drop a bit. Still, he has all the tools to succeed at the next level.
Darnell Washington – Tight End
Despite being Georgia’s second-ranked tight end behind Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington has also developed into a quality player. The Las Vegas native ranks third among tight ends and 47th overall in the ESPN rankings, putting him squarely in the second round. At 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds, he’s a nightmare for opposing defenses.
The junior has appeared in 36 games during his three-year career, catching 45 passes for 774 yards and three touchdowns. The 2022 season was his best by far, as he broke his career highs in most receiving stats.
Christopher Smith – Security
Christopher Smith has been a longtime Georgia veteran and is now making the leap to the NFL. The fifth-year senior ranks as the sixth-best safety and 98th-best overall player in the ESPN rankings. This probably puts him at the end of the third round or the beginning of the fourth.
The Atlanta native amassed 133 tackles, 16 pass defenses and six interceptions in his career with the Bulldogs. He saved the best for last, as he was a first-team All-American finalist and a Nagurski Award finalist in 2022.
Kenny McIntosh – Running Back
Now we move on to the players who will likely be Day 3 draft picks. Kenny McIntosh ranks seventh among running backs and 126th overall in the ESPN rankings, which puts him in the fourth or fifth round.
McIntosh saw limited action for much of his career, but he emerged as Georgia’s top rusher in 2022. The senior rushed for 829 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also adding 504 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.
Warren McClendon – Offensive tackle
Warren McClendon has been a starter at right tackle for Georgia football since his freshman season in 2020. He’s been a solid lineman the entire time, even earning a first-team All-SEC selection from the coaches in 2022. ESPN Ranks McClendon ranked 16th among offensive tackles and 160th overall in his rankings.
Kearis Jackson – Wide Receiver
Kearis Jackson has been a rotation receiver for Georgia for some time now. Actually, he was the Bulldogs’ leading receiver in 2020 with 514 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s only recorded 514 yards and one touchdown in the two seasons since. Jackson is ranked 28th among wide receivers and 189th overall in the ESPN rankings.
Stetson Bennett – Quarterback
Everyone knows the story of Stetson Bennett by now. The former backup took the starting job for the Bulldogs and ran with him, helping them win back-to-back national championships. Bennett was a 2022 Heisman finalist and will always be a legend in Athens.
This is one case, though, where college success doesn’t translate to being one of the NFL’s top prospects. Scouts have raised concerns about certain aspects of Bennett’s game, especially his lack of size. He ranks 10th among quarterbacks and 206th overall in the ESPN rankings. With his recent arrest for public intoxication, he may not be drafted.
Robert Beal – Linebacker
Robert Beal is another fifth-year student who has been a constant for Georgia’s defense. Throughout his career, he has tallied 72 tackles, 12 TFLs and 10.5 sacks. He doesn’t appear in the ESPN ratings, so it’s very possible he won’t be drafted.
Jack Podlesney – Kicker
Jack Podlesney is another player who doesn’t appear in the ESPN ratings, but considering there are only five kickers listed, it’s not all that surprising. Podlesney has been Georgia’s kicker for three seasons, making 61 of 74 field goals from the field with a length of 53 yards. He could find a good home as an undrafted free agent.
Georgia’s 12 football players and many more will have the opportunity to showcase their skills at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. The event will take place February 28-March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.