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Mississippi players highlight 2023 NFL Draft

Isaiah Bolden of Jackson State was the only HBCU player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft (Photo courtesy of JSU Athletics)

Mississippi players and colleges have a long history of producing quality NFL Draft picks and helping teams for lengthy times. The 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City was no different as the Magnolia State had a pick in every round, from Emmanuel Forbes in the first to Isaiah Bolden in the seventh. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at all 12 Mississippi players drafted.

Mississippi State DB Emmanuel Forbes – Washington Commanders (Rd. 1, Pick 16)

The Grenada native nicknamed by Mel Kiper, Jr. as the “Splendid Splinter” provided unfathomable speed and instincts during his time at Mississippi State. The tall and thin defensive back set the FBS record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns (6) and finished with 14 total picks during his time in Starkville.

Auburn DE/LB Derrick Hall – Seattle Seahawks (Rd. 2, Pick 37)

The Gulfport native wreaked havoc and overcame adversity during his time at Auburn. Hall’s takeoff speed might be the best in this year’s draft as the former team captain finished his collegiate career with nearly 20 sacks and 30 tackles for loss.

Ole Miss WR Jonathan Mingo – Carolina Panthers (Rd. 2, Pick 39)

Mingo is a 6’2”, 220-pound receiver with big hands that is tough to bring down, especially in the open field. The Brandon native has great speed for his size and can go up and get the ball when necessary. Mingo set the Ole Miss record for most receiving yards in a game with 247 against Vanderbilt in 2022.

Alabama DT Byron Young – Las Vegas Raiders (Rd. 3, Pick 70)

The Laurel native has a knack for going after the ball carrier. While with the Crimson Tide, Young finished with 7.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. The three-technique defensive lineman can control two gaps to stop the run.

Mississippi State DT Cameron Young – Seattle Seahawks (Rd. 4, Pick 123)

The big nose tackle from Crosby was chosen because of his control with blockers and strong hands. During a five-year career in Starkville, Young had over 100 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and one interception.

Ole Miss OLB Tavius Robinson – Baltimore Ravens (Rd. 4, Pick 124)

The former Rebel has great hands along with a quick start that has been improving. He may have one of the best finishing techniques while drastically improving by doubling his sack count from 3.5 in 2021 to 7 in 2022.

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett – Los Angeles Rams (Rd. 4, Pick 128)

A former Jones County Junior College star and two-time national champion at Georgia, Bennett’s size hurt his draft stock at the top but his ability to make decisions, accuracy, and quick release made him a fourth-round pick.

South Alabama DB Darrell Luter, Jr. – San Francisco 49ers (Rd. 5, Pick 155)

The Hattiesburg native came on the scene as the top corner for the Jaguars in 2020, finishing with five interceptions in three years. Luter is a player that can run with the speed of a lot of receivers. He also has great hands and open-field tackling that most offensive units try to avoid.

Southern Miss DB Eric Scott, Jr. – Dallas Cowboys (Rd. 6, Pick 178)

The only Southern Miss draftee has great ball reading skills as he returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2022. Scott posted 78 total tackles (51 solo) with two tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and five interceptions in 34 career games with the Golden Eagles.

Ole Miss RB Zach Evans – Los Angeles Rams (Rd. 7, Pick 215)

The Ole Miss running back is a downhill runner that nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards and had 10 touchdowns for the Rebels in his only season in Oxford. Evans has incredible balance and strength in the ground game.

Ole Miss OL Nick Broeker – Buffalo Bills (Rd. 7, Pick 230)

Broeker is a big, old-school lineman from Ole Miss that has good initial attack skills. He comes off the ball and stays low while stopping the pass rush by putting himself in a great blocking position.

Jackson State DB Isaiah Bolden – New England Patriots (Rd. 7, Pick 245)

The only HBCU player selected in this year’s draft, Bolden is an outstanding special teams returner and has great speed as a corner while only playing 13 games in college.

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