Everyone knows what kind of recruiting class the Ole Miss Rebels pulled in last February. Only problem for NFL Draft-niks is that another three years are going to have to pass until the likes of Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, Tony Conner and Laquon Treadwell are even eligible for the draft. So do the Rebels currently have any prospects that could make some waves in the 2014 NFL Draft? This will clearly need to be broken up into two parts, so let’s start with the offense.
QB Bo Wallace will be an intriguing prospect when he decides to come out, but I doubt it will be after this year unless he really blows up. His 17 interceptions last year shed light on his decision-making skills, and it’s evident he needs more work. But when he cuts down on his turnovers, like he did at the end of last year, he can be a rockstar. Still, I think he’ll stick around another year after this.
Jeff Scott will be the only running back eligible for the draft, and at 5-foot 7, it’s going to be tough for him to prove he can handle the physicality at the next level. No one denies his world class speed, however, and that alone will put him on a roster next year as a kick or punt returner, and maybe a slot receiver a la Wes Welker — tiny, quick, great in open space, playmaker.
As far as who the top prospect might be, Donte Moncrief is the big dog on campus, and there’s almost no doubt he’ll declare early after his junior season this fall. Moncrief is a bona fide first rounder at wide receiver for the Rebels, and he should continue to prove it this fall. At 6-foot 3, 230-pounds, with a 4.45 40, he’s a beast going across the middle, going deep, grabbing jump-balls in the end zone, etc. He’s a stud, and he’s also probably the most physically gifted receiver in school history (sorry Chris Collins, Burnell ‘Mike’ Wallace, Dexter McCluster, Shay Hodge, etc.).
On the offensive line, LT Emmanuel McCray and C Evan Swindall have the best shot at getting drafted, but it’ll probably be a long shot. Both have been rock solid, but they’re also playing at their ceiling right now. Their potential for further growth is limited. RT Pierce Burton had a strong season last year but needs to show he can stay healthy.
LG Aaron Morris is reminding many of a younger John Jerry, who was taken in the 3rd round a few years ago. But, similarly to Jerry, keeping his ballooning weight in-check will dictate just how high he’ll go. Like Wallace, though, I doubt Morris declares early.
All in all, the Rebels have a few intriguing prospects on offense. Moncrief is far and away the top prospect, Scott has the speed NFL scouts covet, and McCray and Swindall could be late-round options for teams looking for depth in the trenches. Things could really get interesting, though, if Wallace and Morris declare. But like I said earlier, that’s probably a long shot.