The National Championship started off in typical SEC fashion: a defensive slugfest resulting in a 6-9 halftime score. Even as the offenses heated up in the second half, it was the defense that came to play and brought out the stars in this game. Both Georgia and Alabama had some shining players on D who will likely be high draft picks in the NFL. Here is the Stock Up/Stock Down for the National Championship defenses.
Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
Harris saved his best game of the season for the National Championship. The Crimson Tide used him as a pass rusher often against Stetson Bennett to create interior pressure, and it worked. Harris had 3 sacks total in the game and an additional TFL against the run. There seemed to be more explosiveness to his game and it was why so many had him highly rated coming into the season. If Harris is this type of player in the NFL, he is still worth a top 50 pick and should be in consideration pretty high.
Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Cine’s game doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, but he was flying all over the field for big game saving tackles and even some blitz pressure to contain Bryce Young. This National Championship was a coming out party for the underrated safety who can hit hard and showcased good coverage skills throughout the game. Big hits on Trey Sanders and Slade Bolden in the game flashed that closing speed. With the 2022 Safety class not being as high in demand, Cine has a shot to be the 2nd off the board.
Devonte Wyatt, DL, Georgia
Wyatt is another player who the stat sheet wasn’t kind to, but he made some big differences in the game with his pressure against the right side of Alabama’s line. Wyatt was consistently winning match-ups and forced Alabama to change their gameplan and keep to the left side. For a National Championship game, Wyatt showed his 3-down NFL potential both in moving down a gap against the run or getting exterior pressure against the QB. He has a chance to be a first round pick and an intriguing pro player.
Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
The hard hitting linebacker had a great National Championship game. Tindall gets overlooked with stud Nakobe Dean next to him, but he made some key plays to help Georgia win. His sack in the red zone where he hit full speed off the snap to run down Bryce Young was exceptional. Tindall is a Day 2 pick who could be a double digit tackle player in the NFL.
Travon Walker, DL, Georgia
The main reason Walker is in here is running down Agiye Hall on a play that could have resulted in an Alabama TD. The instincts and awareness to take the right angle and run down a WR as a defensive lineman is impressive. He also had a sack in the game and numerous pursuits of QB Bryce Young to hurry him. Walker, like most of the eligible Georgia players, has a shot to go in the first round with the athleticism and range he flashed in the National Championship.
Henry To’o To’o, LB, Alabama
To’o To’o came into the season with a lot of hype transferring from Tennessee, but he had a lackluster season. There were some good flashes in the National Championship, but ultimately freshman TE Brock Bowers got the best of To’o To’o multiple times in coverage. To’o To’o doesn’t seem to play with the same explosive decisiveness as he had previously and likely should return to school to try and improve his stock.
Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia
Davis is a run stuffing monster and had a great game, but some of the fears with him were realized in the National Championship. He got winded toward the end of the game and started looking sluggish coming off the snap. There were a few sack opportunities where he couldn’t close due to that lack of pass rush ability. Davis is an elite run stopper, which many NFL teams need, but the lack of versatility will put his NFL fit to the test and could bump him into Day 2.
Phidarian Mathis, DL, Alabama
Mathis got injured late in the game, and hopefully he is healthy enough to go the Senior Bowl and show out. Mathis had an excellent season flashing first step explosiveness, but he got moved off the line late in the game by Georgia’s offensive line often. The penetration in the middle wasn’t there in the second half, and it is partially why Alabama lost the game. Mathis is still a good prospect and Top 100 pick.
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