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Sun Belt Conference: Top 5 2023 NFL Draft Prospects

Sun Belt

I have watched at least one Sun Belt Conference game over the course of the entire 2022 season. As a football brand, so close to my hometown, it felt like a natural fit for me.

Traditionally, the Sun Belt doesn’t have a massive number of players drafted each year. I expect at least 5-8 players from the conference to be selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Today, I will break down the Top 5 prospects for this year’s draft.

SUN BELT CONFERENCE: TOP 5 2023 NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS

1 – Darrell Luter Jr., CB, South Alabama

Luter has been a shutdown corner for the Jaguars for the last two seasons. When quarterbacks have targeted him their QBR dies. He has tremendous length and ball skills. I expect Luter will continue to see his stock rise after a week at the Senior Bowl.

2 – Jake Andrews, C, Troy

Andrews has been the pivot man for one of the best offensive lines in the Sun Belt. Andrews is ox-strong and moves well. He currently sits as my #4 center prospect (though that will likely change over the process). Andrews accepted an invite to the NFLPA Bowl this past week.

3 – Nick Hampton, LB, Appalachian State

Hampton has been much more of an edge rusher for App State over the last few seasons. He will likely transition to a traditional standup linebacker role at the Senior Bowl. Hampton could provide tremendous versatility for a team that likely gets selected on early day three. He has been one of the best pass rushers in the Sun Belt. Hampton had 11 sacks in 2021, seven in 2022, and 26.5 over his career.

4 – Jason Brownlee, WR, Southern Miss

Brownlee reminds me to a lesser extent of former South Alabama (current Dallas Cowboys) WR Jalen Tolbert. He has been saddled with less-than-ideal QB play the last three seasons with Southern Miss. Brownlee has somehow increased his production over each of the last three seasons. He runs great routes, can catch the 50/50 balls, and can outrun defenders. Brownlee has the occasional drop but nothing egregious. He accepted an invitation to the NFLPA Bowl this week though I hope he gets a late invite to Mobile. I think Brownlee will be selected somehow late on day three.

5 – Camerun Peoples, RB, Appalachian State

Peoples is a powerful runner between the tackles. He has tremendous balance and has been incredibly productive. Peoples has averaged 6.2 yards per carry on 455 career attempts with 33 TDs. 2022 wasn’t his best season due to splitting time with Nate Noel. I have concerns about Peoples in the passing game. These are worries that can be alleviated at the Senior Bowl.

OTHERS CONSIDERED

Carlton Martial, LB, Troy

Michael Jefferson, WR, Louisiana

Frank Gore, Jr., RB, Southern Miss (not expected to declare)

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