The 2023 NFL Draft is officially upon us and with a handful of Mississippians hoping to hear their names called. After reviewing regular season footage, all-star bowl performances, and combine and pro day activities, here are the most likely scenarios for Mississippi prospects during this year’s draft.
Emmanuel Forbes, DB, Mississippi State
The sneaky mastermind behind turnovers has attracted numerous teams with late first-round picks, as predicted by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay. Forbes, a native of Grenada, became known as an interception machine in Starkville, picking off 14 passes in three years, including three returned for touchdowns. With his 4.35 speed, Kiper has Forbes going No. 23 overall to the Minnesota Vikings while McShay has him at No. 25 to the New York Giants. Either way, it’s shaping up where Forbes will be the only Mississippian chosen in the first round.
Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
Even though this year’s draft has a highly touted wide receiver class, Mingo has performed well this offseason, running a 4.46 40-yard dash and bench pressing 225 pounds 22 times. He’s also proved more than impressive in the interview process. As of now, the Brandon High School alum is a consensus No. 12 in his position group, which should land him as a late second-round pick – possibly with the Dallas Cowboys (No. 58 overall) or the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 63 overall).
Derrick Hall, Edge/LB, Auburn
Due to his ability to switch positions defensively, both Kiper and McShay have Hall going in the second or third round to either the Philadelphia Eagles or the Los Angeles Rams. The Gulfport native finished his four-year career with the Tigers with 19 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss. Hall’s size at 6’5” and 255 pounds combined with his 4.55 speed makes him a next-level pass rusher. On top of his leadership qualities, Hall has also been touted for his initial contact and explosion which has helped him secure a top 10 spot in his position group.
Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss
Evans may be the most talented Mississippi player in this year’s draft, finishing third overall out of all the athletes. Despite injuries over the last two seasons, Evans has proven that he has what it takes to be a starting running back in the NFL. Unfortunately, the running back position – with an average career length of 2.57 years – is not high on most teams’ boards. Don’t be surprised if Evans gets selected in the late third round by a team such as the Philadelphia Eagles.
Byron Young, DT, Alabama
The Laurel native is widely respected amongst his teammates and coaches for not only his leadership qualities but his strength and ability to read defenses effectively. Because of all that, he has been graded as a top-80 prospect, meaning you can expect his name called in either the third or the fourth round.
Nick Broeker, OL, Ole Miss
There is a lot of game film on Broeker after playing all four years with the Rebels and starting every game over the last three years. He has been ranked by virtually all outlets as fifth among offensive guards after not allowing a single sack for Ole Miss during the 2022 season. Broeker’s consistency should be enough to get him chosen in the later Saturday rounds but likely as a solid backup with future starter potential.
From here, it’s simply a guessing game on teams’ needs in the later rounds. Other players likely to be drafted: Cameroun Young (DT, Mississippi State), Tavius Robinson (DE, Ole Miss), and Tyrus Wheat (DE, Mississippi State). Other players likely to go undrafted but sign free agent deals: Malik Heath (WR, Ole Miss), Malik Shorts (DB, Southern Miss), Cameron Harrell (DB, Southern Miss), Darrell Luter, Jr. (DB, South Alabama), Jason Brownlee (WR, Southern Miss), and Aubrey Miller (LB, Jackson State).