2022 NFL Draft: 3 SEC Defensive Players to Watch

07/26/2021
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As we all know, there are hundreds of prospects to watch in each conference across college football. By the time we get to the 2022 NFL draft, I give you the top-150 players that I’ve watched for the season. We’ve got plenty of time until then but as we approach the first week of August and start to close in on the start of football season, here are three defensive players to watch from the SEC!

Jalen Catalon, DB, Arkansas

Coming out of Mansfield Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas, Catalon was a three-sport athlete and four-star recruit. Despite having offers to schools such as Alabama and Ohio State, he went to Arkansas and has become a stud on the back end of the Razorbacks defense.

Every time you put the tape on, Catalon is always around the football. Whether he’s making a tackle or breaking up a pass, you can count on him to make a play. He’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 198-pounds but he plays much bigger. There are times you’ll see him lay out a wide receiver in the open field and you would have thought it was the team’s best linebacker. Many people will list Kyle Hamilton from Notre Dame as the top safety in the country but don’t sleep on Catalon. He finished last season with 99 tackles, three interceptions and four pass deflections. Look for the redshirt sophomore to match those numbers this season for the Razorbacks and to skyrocket up draft boards throughout the season.

Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida

When doing my prep work on Ole Miss QB Matt Corral, one player constantly stood out from the Florida defense. That player was Ventrell Miller of the Gators. Before coming to Florida, he was a three-star recruit out of Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Florida. After his commitment to the Gators, he was cited for possession of marijuana and he was suspended for the entire 2017 season. That might lead to some doubt or concerns from some teams but there have been no issues since then and he’s become a consistent player for the Gators defense.

Miller has shown the ability to make plays from the left side or right side of the defense. Contributing to that is his patience, range and athletic ability. Since 2018, he’s made 21 starts and has played in 30 games. This past season, he led the Gators with 86 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. While it doesn’t feel like there’s a clear-cut favorite for the top linebacker in the 2022 NFL Draft, there is definitely a chance for Miller to claim that spot with a great 2021 season. The Gators kick off their season on September 4th against Florida Atlantic, so look for Miller to be a top contributor on defense all season long.

Grant Morgan, LB, Arkansas

Getting back to the Arkansas defense, there was another player that constantly caught my eye. That was linebacker Grant Morgan. Much to my point earlier on the top linebacker spot being wide open for the 2022 NFL Draft, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Morgan become one of those prospects that claim it. His story is so inspiring. He had small school offers from all over but he ended up being a walk-on for Arkansas.

Literally working from the bottom to the top, Morgan has found himself as a team captain and the most productive defender on the Razorbacks. Despite a shortened season in 2020, he led the team with 111 tackles, five pass deflections and an interception.

There are times he struggles to get off his blocks but watching him drop into coverage is impressive. He told me that he “trusts his instincts and what he’s been coached to be in the right position.” Constantly watching film, he knows where the receivers are running their routes just off their splits and alignment in the offense. Morgan has shades of Matt Milano to his game and he’s certainly a player I’ll be rooting for this upcoming season. For more on Grant Morgan, you can listen to my interview with him using the link below!

C1 Draft Podcast | Arkansas LB Grant Morgan Interview

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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