The 2019 NFL Draft is one day away, and the state of Mississippi is expected to be well represented across the board.
Between Ole Miss prospects D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Greg Little and Mississippi State prospects Montez Sweat, Jeffrey Simmons and Johnathan Abram, there’s a chance Mississippi colleges could see as many as six players picked in the first round. But the most recent mock drafts indicate a possibility that number could also be as small as two, but there’s no doubt that Ole Miss and Mississippi State will see their fair share of former players become overnight millionaires within the next few days.
As he reportedly falls down NFL teams’ draft boards because of a pre-existing heart condition, former Bulldog Sweat has changed his mind about attending the draft and will instead watch it from home, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Sweat apparently told the NFL this week that he would be among the projected first-round prospects on hand in downtown Nashville but has since reversed course and will spend the draft with family in Georgia.
“My devoted grandparents and a host of other family members helped me to get to this point in my life,” he said, per Schefter, “and I wanted to celebrate this special day with my family, so we all chose to do so where it all started for me, Stone Mountain, (Georgia).”
Sweat did not mention his heart condition as pertaining to the decision, according to Schefter’s report. The Mississippi State pass rusher was also cleared to partake in the scouting combine earlier this offseason. But teams reportedly have concerns about what the condition could mean long-term, and Sweat’s diagnosis came less than a year after former Michigan product Maurice Hurst, another consensus first-round defensive lineman with an identified heart condition, fell to the fifth round of the 2018 draft.
Sweat is currently ranked on CBS Sports as the No. 8 prospect in the 2019 draft and the third-best pass rusher of his class. CBS Sports draft analyst Ryan Wilson recently pegged him to go seventh overall to the Jaguars in his seven-round mock draft, but those health concerns could mean Sweat is more likely to fall from that top-10 status.
ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr has Sweat going in eighth overall to the Detroit Lions.
Metcalf, considered by many to be the top wide receiver prospect this year, lit up the NFL combine and sent social media into a frenzy when he ran a 4.33 40-yard dash and repped the bench press 27 times in his workouts. Despite the fact that Metcalf sustained two season-ending injuries in his time at Ole Miss, cutting his production shy of what it otherwise could’ve been, scouts seem to be enamored of Metcalf’s 6-foot-3, 228-pound frame and his less-than-2-percent body fat.
He is projected to go as high as 12th overall to the Green Bay Packers by Mel Kiper Jr of ESPN. Others have the former Rebel going as low as pick 22nd in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens.
If Metcalf was the story of the NFL combine among wide receivers, Sweat was the star of the pass rushers. Sweat’s 4.41-second 40-yard dash was the fastest for a player his size in combine history, and his 22 sacks in two seasons in Starkville make him a potential top 10 pick.
Brown, the all-time leading receiver in Ole Miss history by yardage, is among the most productive wide receiver prospects in the draft. His perceived lack of top-flight athleticism might push him into the late first or early second round, but if he produces in the NFL the way he did at Ole Miss, he’ll be a steal in that range for any team. He is slated to go in the late first or early second round by all draft analysts.
An offseason ACL injury has knocked ex-MSU star Jeffery Simmons down a few draft boards, but he’s still considered one of the most disruptive and talented interior defensive linemen in the draft. If Simmons heals up properly and gets back to his explosive best, a team that grabs him in the late first round or second round might end up with a top-tier talent.