Draft

Draft analyst: Georgia’s Sony Michel, Nick Chubb both among top 5 running backs

Nick Chubb Sony Michel NFL draft
Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

No wonder Georgia football was so good: A noted NFL draft analyst ranks four Bulldogs among the top players in the 2018 class at their positions, including two running backs.

Both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel landed top-five rankings at running back from NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock, who released the first set of his position-by-position rankings for April’s NFL Draft.

Mayock ranked Michel as the fourth-best running back in the draft class, with Chubb in fifth. The only three running backs graded higher are Saquon Barkley of Penn State, Derrius Guice of LSU and Ronald Jones II of USC. Chubb and Michel are listed above several other notable backs, including Kerryon Johnson of Auburn.

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Should both Michel and Chubb go in the early rounds, it would mark a rarity for any team, whether in the SEC or not. The Arkansas pair of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones (both first-rounders in 2008) and the Auburn duo of Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams (both first-rounders in 2005) are the recent examples of SEC backs who earned high picks in the same draft.

Michel and Chubb, though, aren’t the only Georgia players winning high marks from Mayock.

He also lists the Bulldogs’ Isaiah Wynn as the second-best guard in the draft class, behind only Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame, who is seen as basically a lock to go in the top 10. Wynn excelled at the Senior Bowl, where he showed the athletic tools to hold his own against the best senior defenders in the class.

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Butkus Award-winning linebacker Roquan Smith comes in second in Mayock’s linebacker rankings, with Tremaine Edmunds of Virginia Tech listed first. Smith not only dominated during the regular season but also excelled for the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff, particularly in the second half against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

Georgia last had four players selected in the first two rounds in 2005. In that year, linebacker Thomas Davis went to the Carolina Panthers at No. 14, linebacker David Pollack joined the Cincinnati Bengals three picks later, wide receiver Reggie Brown was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 35 and linebacker Odell Thurman followed Pollack to the Bengals at No. 48.

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