It was a fairly uneventful National Championship with the biggest blowout in the game’s history. Georgia winning 65-7 against TCU was a rout with two very different talents on the field. It really did make taking away heavy NFL Draft implications difficult to determine who gets the stock up and stock down labels. For both Georgia and TCU prospects in the national championship, their semi-final games did a lot more to reveal the talent or struggles when playing in tight games against similarly talented teams. Ultimately, it was a good day for Georgia prospects.
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia
Perhaps the biggest benefactor of the National Championship will be Georgia’s QB. The 25 year old stands at only 5’11, 190 pounds as a former walk-on to Georgia, not the ideal NFL Draft prospect. The All-Star games and even NFL interest has been minima so far, but back-to-back national titles with an MVP performance against TCU is sure to get someone intrigued. Moving from undrafted to drafted with his toughness, athleticism, and solid arm strength, Bennett likely has the biggest rise from the National Championship.
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The LT for the Bulldogs was masterful in the title game. They seemed to often scheme him running as a lead blocker on screens and runs to the left side, showcasing his athleticism, speed, and strength. He handled Terrell Cooper easily in the game in terms of locking him at the line or driving him backward. Jones is still raw, but the athletic upside and pure brute strength makes him likely to be the first offensive lineman off the board in the NFL Draft.
Steve Avila, iOL, TCU
One Horned Frog does get to make the list! When TCU had success, it was usually running behind Avila who played LG in the game. He combined for double teams on Jalen Carter often and helped create holes in the run game. With a great stance and leverage, Avila looked like an NFL starter, even with the team around him didn’t live up to expectations. Avila has Center experience as well, so his versatility could be valued on Day 2.
Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, C, Georgia
Yet another offensive lineman makes the list! Van Pran-Granger is not getting much NFL Draft love, and perhaps he doesn’t declare, but he is my #1 Center in the class. The explosion off the line seems to take opposing defenders by surprise, allowing Van Pran-Granger to drive big DTs off the line. His hand usage improved throughout he year and was extremely successful at the point of attack against TCU’s 3-3-5. Keep an eye out if he declares and starts gaining steam.
Max Duggan, QB, TCU
In my latest mock draft, I plugged Duggan into the third round as a surprise QB candidate. With a good National Championship and playoff run, it felt like he could springboard higher in the draft. That did not come to fruition. Duggan was under pressure consistently in the game and could not find his way out of it. He missed open receivers, timing routes, and was heavily inaccurate when his feet weren’t set. The one TCU scoring drive had a broken play with a wide open Derius Davis, and Duggan underthrow him by a mile. This forced Davis to stop in his tracks and not score a TD. It was not an NFL passing performance (unlike CJ Stroud the week before) against this Georgia defense. This likely pushes Duggan into Day 3 of the draft for sure.
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
The stat line of 1 catch for 3 yards won’t reflect well on Johnston. But, it was far from his fault. As TCU’s offense sputtered with little time to pass, Johnston didn’t seem to get open against Georgia CB Kwame Lassiter much. A huge game could have cemented him as the WR1 in the class. But, his inconsistent performances may have some NFL teams questioning. Johnston is sure to be the upside Round 1 WR, but safety could rely in Southern Cal’s Jordan Addison or Ohio States’ Jaxon Smith-Njigba when push comes to shove.