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Texas A&M Football

Projecting the impact of the SEC's 30 early NFL Draft departures

January 20, 2022

Every January, dozens of Southeastern Conference football players opt to forgo their senior sessions and declare for early entry into the NFL draft.

Some players are hardly missed the next season. Some teams suffer significant declines without the players that left.

Thirty SEC players declared for early entry by the deadline on Monday. How their absence affects their former team obviously won’t be revealed until next season, but projections can be made.

Here’s a look at the SEC early entries and how their teams might fare without them.


CB Jalyn Armour-Davis: A second-team All-SEC selection. Armour-Davis was credited with four passes broken up, three interceptions and 32 tackles.

WR Slade Bolden: Stepped up when John Metchie III was lost to a knee injury and finished with 42 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, he had two catches for 16 yards.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Metchie and Williams look to be the next Alabama wideouts taken in the first round.

LB Christian Harris: A three-year starter, he posted 79 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and forced two fumbles in 2021.

WR John Metchie III: Was third in the SEC in receiving yards with 1,142. He was also third in the conference with 96 catches. He had eight touchdown receptions. Against Texas A&M, he had seven catches for 88 yards.

OT Evan Neal: A three-year starter, Neal was Alabama’s best offensive lineman. He earned All-American and All-SEC recognition and is projected as a high first-round draft choice.

WR Jameson Williams: The SEC leader in receiving yards with 1,572. He averaged 19.9 yards on 79 catches. He had 15 touchdown catches. Against Texas A&M, he had 10 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

Projection: You saw in the national championship game how Alabama’s offense was compromised without Williams and Metchie. No doubt, Alabama will have good receivers, but it cannot be taken for granted they’ll play at the same level. Neal’s exit will also hurt.


WR Treylon Burks: A first-team All-SEC selection. Fourth in the SEC with 1,104 receiving yards. Averaged 16.7 yards on 66 receptions. He had 11 touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, he had six catches for 167 yards and a touchdown.

Projection: The Razorbacks’ offense won’t be as explosive without Burks, their greatest big-play threat.


CB Kaiir Elam: Had an interception and broke up five passes despite missing three games. He also had 29 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Projection: Florida’s biggest issue is the offense. Losing a corner — even one as good as Elam — likely has minimal impact.


S Lewis Cine: All-SEC second-team selection and named to some All-American teams, Cine led Georgia with 73 tackles. He broke up nine passes and had an interception.

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Zamir White rushed for 84 yards and a score in the national title game.

LB Nakobe Dean: Consensus All-American, All-SEC and Butkus Award recipient, Dean posted 72 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two interceptions, broke up five passes and forced two fumbles.

WR George Pickens: Injuries limited him to four games. He only had five catches for 107 yards but had a 52-yard reception in the national championship win over Alabama. In two previous seasons, Pickens had 85 catches for 1,240 yards and 14 touchdowns.

DE Travon Walker: Posted 37 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, he sacks was credited with six quarterback hurries.

RB Zamir White: Led the Bulldogs with 856 rushing yards on 160 carries and scored 11 touchdowns. He rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown in the national championship win over Alabama.

Projection: Look for Georgia to take a step back. Duh. The Bulldogs won the national championship. Georgia will find a good running back and receiver, but Cine, Dean and Walker will be missed.


WR Wan’Dale Robinson: A second-team All-SEC selection. Robinson was second in the SEC in receptions with 104 and yards with 1,348. He also had seven touchdowns.

OT Dare Rosenthal: A transfer from LSU, he started at left tackle in his one season at Kentucky.

Projection: Robinson was the Wildcats’ best player. Replacing his production is unlikely.


RB Tyrion Davis-Price: Davis-Price led LSU with 1,003 rushing yards. He scored three touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, he rushed for 84 yards on 19 attempts.

Despite appearing in just four games for the Bayou Bengals this fall, Derek Stingley Jr. still projects as a first-round selection.

CB Cordale Flott: Starting nickleback had one interception, broke up three passes and forced a fumble. He had 40 tackles. Against Texas A&M, he was involved in two tackles.

CB Derek Stingley Jr.: A former All-American, Stingley appeared in just three games in 2021 before opting out with a foot injury. In two previous seasons, he broke up 20 passes. He had six interceptions as a true freshman in 2019.

K Cade York: A second-team All-SEC selection. York hit 15-of-18 field goals in 2021. He hit 54-of-66 in his career. Last year against A&M, he had two field goals.

Projection: Stingley is the best of the bunch, but he hardly played last season. Davis-Price was productive, but LSU will find an adequate replacement. The Tigers’ biggest loss among this group will be York.

Mississippi State

OT Charles Cross: An All-American and All-SEC selection. He’s projected as a first-round draft pick.

CB Martin Emerson: Broke up three passes, posted 49 tackles and had three tackles for loss in 2021. Against Texas A&M last season, he had five tackles.

WR Makai Polk: A transfer from Cal, Polk led the SEC with 105 catches. He had 1,046 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, he had 13 catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

Projection: Mike Leach will find a receiver to take up the slack left by Polk. Replacing Cross won’t be as easy. Pass protection could be a major problem for the Bulldogs.

Ole Miss

RB Snoop Conner: Ole Miss’ power back, Conner rushed for 647 yards and 13 touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, he rushed for 55 yards on 11 attempts and scored a touchdown.

QB Matt Corral: A Heisman Trophy contender and All-SEC second-team selection. Corral was third in the SEC with 3,349 passing yards. He threw 25 touchdown passes. Corral also rushed for 614 yards and 11 touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, he passed for 247 yards and a touchdown.

RB Jerrion Ealy: A big-play threat, Ealy rushed for 768 yards on 133 carries and scored five touchdowns. He also caught 32 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Against Texas A&M, he rushed for 152 yards and caught four passes for 34 yards.

Projection: Corral’s exit might have more impact than any early entry in the country. Transfer portal addition Zach Evans will ease the losses of Conner and Ealy.

South Carolina

RB Kevin Harris: Second in the SEC in rushing in 2020 with 1,138 yards, his output dipped to 657 yards and four touchdowns in 2021. He never had success against Texas A&M. In three seasons, he rushed for 48 yards on 18 carries and did not score a touchdown against the Aggies.

Projection: Though Harris is very good, he likely won’t be missed too much. The Gamecocks offense figures to be pass-oriented after adding Spencer Rattler from the portal.

Texas A&M

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
The anchor on A&M’s defense the last few years, Leal looks to be the next Aggie pass rusher selected in the first round. 

G Kenyon Green: A two-time All-American and All-SEC selection, Green was a three-year starter. He is considered a first or high-second-round draft choice.

DL DeMarvin Leal: An All-SEC selection, Leal was a three-year starter. Last season, he posted eight and a half sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. Leal posted 58 tackles, broke up two passes and forced a fumble.

RB Isaiah Spiller: Twice an All-SEC running back, Spiller posted his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. He rushed for 1,011 yards and scored six touchdowns. He also caught 25 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. He completed his career with 2,993 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.

TE Jalen Wydermyer: A three-year starter and three-time All-SEC selection. Wydermyer was a Mackey Award finalist in 2021. Last season, he caught 40 passes for 515 yards and four touchdowns. He completed his career with 118 receptions for 1,468 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Projection: All four will be significant losses, though A&M appears in good shape to replace Spiller with Devon Achane. Adequately replacing Green, Leal and Wydermyer will be much more difficult.

Discussion from...

Projecting the impact of the SEC's 30 early NFL Draft departures

4,643 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by 12thMan9
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IMO Spiller will be tougher to replace than expected, he has great patience, power, and vision. Nothing at all against Achane, he just needs time to develop those traits.
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HalcoAG90 said:

IMO Spiller will be tougher to replace than expected, he has great patience, power, and vision. Nothing at all against Achane, he just needs time to develop those traits.

Wrong. Achane is just fine. And the others at RB will fill in nicely.
Ronnie '88
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