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Ole Miss-Mississippi State: Top 2019 NFL draft prospects to watch for

Draft Wire logo Draft Wire 11/22/2018 Gavino Borquez

Thanksgiving is about to be a good day filled with lots of food, company and great football action. And besides the three traditional NFL games that are always played on this day, fans will also get to see Egg Bowl this evening, which is the rivalry game featuring Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

With this being the last week of conference play before we get into bowl season, this will be an ideal time to look at draft-eligible players that have been and could shine in front of NFL scouts this week.

Here is the top 2019 NFL draft prospects to keep an eye on in the 2018 Egg Bowl:

Mississippi State

DT Jeffery Simmons

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Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Jeffery Simmons is one of college football's most disruptive defensive lineman in 2018. Despite drawing double teams play after play, still finds ways to make his way into backfields.

At 6-foot-3 and 301 pounds, Simmons combines natural athletic ability with power and quickness that allows him to penetrate gaps or take on blockers. He plays light on his feet and moves very fluidly. Has impressive range against the run and can control opposing lineman with his hand usage.

Flashes explosive pass rush ability as he can rip, dip or use a hump move to cleanly beat offensive linemen. He shows the ability to get down the line quickly and suddenly sheds blocks to make play on ball carriers coming through the hole. Simmons profiles best as a 3-technique in the NFL.

EDGE Montez Sweat

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Montez Sweat is one of college football's most electric pass rushers, who makes his presence known week in and week out. Sweat came back for his senior season after leading the SEC in sacks with 10.5 and tackles for loss with 15.5.

At 6-foot-5 and 241 pounds, Sweat is a powerful and relentless pass rusher. Unlike many of the rushers in that win with flexibility, Sweat wins with speed, power and hand usage.

Sweat comes off the ball with an explosive and long first step and has no trouble translating the speed to power. He gets his long arms extended to control offensive tackles and create backward movement. Sweat will win with push/pull and rip/club counters.

Against the run, Sweat can stack and shed to make plays inside or outside. He has experience attacking the line from all different angles. Sweat is a bit stiff and lacks flexibility. Sweat projects as a base 4-3 defensive end at the next level.

OC Elgton Jenkins

Elgton Jenkins is one of the nation's best centers and the Senior Bowl invite he received this past week as well as today's game could see his draft stock soar up.

At 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Jenkins has a big frame; thick upper body, flexible and fluid lower body. He's quick out of his stance, beating his assignment to the gap. He consistently get his man sealed from the hole using body positioning and leverage to create a lane.

Jenkins is a good athlete for the position, he redirects off blocks quickly and can get to the second level with speed. He is a reliable pass protector, mirroring interior rushers with quick feet and a strong anchor. While he is a bit rough around the edges, especially with is power and hands usage, the sky's the limit for him.

S Johnathan Abrams

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Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Johnathan Abrams is in the midst of a breakout season. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, he possesses the size that you'd like to see in a safety prospect.

Abrams possesses very good range and closing ability when the ball is in the air. Does well to read quarterback's eyes and move with them. Plays disciplined and under control, understands his coverage responsibilities. Usually comes up with the ball when given a chance to make a play on it.

As a run defender, Abrams excels near the line of scrimmage. He diagnoses play type and direction quickly. Closes down space with strong angles and impressive closing speed. The type of instinctive, athletic, general teams need in the secondary in today's NFL.

DB Jamal Peters

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John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

At 6-foot-2 and 211 pounds, Jamal Peters has a combination of size, length, and athleticism that will have scouts drooling. Peters can match up with big, physical WR at the next level.

Excels in man coverage and knows how to use his length effectively. Tracks the ball down the field and has the speed to recover, make a play on the pass. He can close explosively on underneath routes and cover a large are in zone coverages.

Peters has natural ball skills. Locates the football downfield. Uses length and speed to close separation in final steps, use long arms to swat passes away. Effective at rerouting receiver at the line, forcing them to the sideline. Can push wide receivers off route in vertical coverage, using good body position.

DB Mark McLaurin

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Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, Mark McLaurin is a lean, long limbed defensive back prospect that's going to make his money by coming up and making plays.

McLaurin is an aggressive safety that can set a tone with his hard-hitting presence. He is much better when the play is in front of him, he shows awareness and ability to diagnose routes and set his sights on receivers. He has ideal size for an NFL strong safety and can play in multiple coverage schemes.

He does well to pick up tight ends in the shorter areas of the field. Can make an impact in the run game with his aggressive, downhill, attack style. He locates run lanes and fills them with speed. Has some limitations on the back-end and isn't great when asked to turn, and run vertically.

Ole Miss

Jordan Ta'amu

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Ta'amu isn't nearly talked about as much among this quarterback class. The traits show that he's capable of possibly working his way up to being a potential NFL starter.

Ta'amu is a tireless worker both on and off the field. He has a strong arm with the ability to make all the throws into tight window. He is a very smart quarterback that processes information quickly, gets the ball out of his hand, and take advantages of the defense.

A better athlete than people realize, he can create yards on the ground if necessary. He has some gunslinger in him and is always willing to take chances to make a big play, where his deep ball as a thing of beauty. He is an ideal fit in a West-Coast passing system.

Ta'amu has some footwork issues which leads to inaccuracy and he needs to be better against pressure.

WR A.J. Brown

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Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

A.J. Brown is the owner of top two single-season receiving totals in school history. He is the only player in program history with two 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Brown possesses a great build for the position. He has the physical build to outmuscle and over-power defenders at the catch point and will use his size to dominate as a blocker, too.

Brown is a possession type receiver that is able to win on hard cut type routes (posts, slants, corners) and complete the catch with defenders on him. He has soft hands and impressive body control to adjust and get his feet in bounds.

Deceptive late speed. Long strides and second gear to lull defensive backs to sleep, separating in the final steps. He changes speed during his routes to keep coverage off balance. Can flip his hips explosively to accelerate out of breaks and get position on cornerbacks.

Brown is touted is a potential first-rounder.

WR DaMarkus Lodge

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss continues to boast wide receiver talent with their No. 2 wideout, DaMarkus Lodge. With D.K. Metcalf's season-ending injury, Lodge has stepped up big. Lodge has caught 47 passes for 584 yards and two touchdowns this season.

At 6-foot-1 and 199 pounds, Lodge has a lean, and athletic frame. He has the vertical speed to stretch the field and take the top off the defense. Lodge finished his Ole Miss career with a crazy 13.3 yards per reception average.

His fluid frame allows him to contort and extend outside his frame in tight coverage. A long strider that eats up chunks of yardage when running routes and with the ball. Creates separation on hard cut routes, showing fluidity, when opening the hips at 45 degrees. Wins over the middle and challenges the safeties speed. Offers an NFL team tremendous upside in the middle rounds.

OT Greg Little

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Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Blocking for quarterback Jordan Ta'amu is Greg Little, who has been a beast in the trenches.

At 6-foot-5 and 324 pounds, Little possesses an ideal NFL frame with long arms. His NFL bloodlines combined with technical and athletic ability make it likely he is one of the top offensive tackles selected in this year's draft.

Little is a very smart player that anticipates the game well. He reacts to the defender's movements quickly and can counter with good feet and powerful hands.

As a pass blocker, he's used to holding his blocks and demoralizing pass-rushers. As a run blocker, he gets movement with a quick first step and powerful positioning on contact. Little plays with a mean streak and has the work ethic coaches will love at the next level.

Dawson Knox

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Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Dawson Knox is sure to be a highly sought after prospect in the 2019 NFL draft. His combination of size at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, mobility, and receiving ability is rare for his position.

He basically played in the slot in Ole Miss' offense and proved to be difficult to cover most of the year. He is too big for cornerbacks to match up with and too fast for most linebackers.

Knox is a smooth athlete that can get in and out of his routes fluidly, and create separation with ease. He knows how to use his body to shield defenders or set them up to get open downfield.

He can impact the passing game at all levels and can be a premier No.1 target in a team's passing offense. An ideal fit in a combination with a traditional inline tight end. Exhibits good top end speed and is a reliable hands catcher. The one aspect to his game that will need work is his blocking.


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