Ole Miss saw six players drafted over the three-day weekend of the 2022 NFL Draft. That doesn’t just mean six prospects from the 10-2 roster 2021 will be part of the final list of 53 players for their respective teams.
Five prospects have been signed as undrafted free agents and hope to end up on active rosters. Some will have an easier climb, such as the receiver Braylon Sanders with the Miami Dolphins or Dontario Drummond with the Dallas Cowboys. Others, like Ben Brown on the Cincinnati Bengals, might be a little tough.
Rebels’ best shot at making the final cut might be the under-the-radar option. It would be going back Jerion Ealywho signed with the Kansas City Chiefs after failing to hear his name.
Ealy’s tools could make him effective in short-range situations and special teams. 5’8″, 189 pounds is lightning fast with his decision making and has top-end acceleration when in open terrain.
Kansas City appears to remain the AFC’s top contender after failing to make its third straight Super Bowl. The running game has been limited with Patrick Mahomes, largely due to sophomore runner Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s injuries and limited output.
After rushing for 803 yards as a rookie, Edwards-Helaire regressed, totaling just 646 yards and five touchdowns. Kansas City turned its attention to adding competition in the backfield, signing Ronald Jones from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and drafting Isaih Pacheco from Rutgers in the seventh round.
Pacheco is more suitable as a receiver option thanks to its size (5-10, 215 pounds) and speed (4.37 40 times). Ealy – who has run 4.52 40 times, might be able to find a role as a third runner only. Jones, who is looking to fight for first-team reps with Edwards-Helaire, has also failed to live up to No. 1 expectations since being drafted from USC.
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The battle for the No. 3 running back could very well come down to Ealy and Pacheco. While at Oxford, Ealy averaged 5.8 yards per carry and over 700 yards each season. Pacheco only exceeded 700 yards once and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
On the receiving side, Ealy had at least 15 catches a year and averaged 8.1 yards per play. Pacheco averaged 5.3 yards per reception and finished with just 47 total catches in four seasons.
Again, Ealy advantage.
Ealy’s ability as a more complete option could make him the best prospect upfront on Pacheco. He also played against SEC-caliber defensive lines, some of which featured multiple rookies over the past three years.
Scouts thought Ealy would be an endgame gem for a franchise. Instead, he could end up being the Chiefs’ best option in terms of a young runner with potential.
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