Top Five NFL Draft Steals from the SEC

There are hidden gems drafted in the later rounds of the NFL Draft every year. We look back and wonder how NFL teams missed on players, but then have to remind ourselves it is a gamble and each team has limited selections. Nonetheless, in this article, I go into who I think will be the top value picks out of the SEC this year that experts projected to go outside of the first round in this years NFL Draft.
Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) makes a
Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Ladd McConkey (84) makes a / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is an inexact science with NFL Scouts, owners and executives analyzing players for months trying to find the best fit for their organizations with only about a 30% success rate.

While all eyes and the majority of discussion is on the first round, let us not forget the other six in the draft.

Last year for example, former Texas A&M running back De’Von Achane ended up falling to the third round and was taken at number 84. Achane was third amongst rookies in rushing with 800 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, adding another 197 yards and three touchdowns receiving.

In this article, I list the top value draft picks that are projected to go outside of the first round on day two or three out of the SEC.

Here are My Top Five Value Draft Picks Out of the SEC for the 2024 NFL Draft

Ladd McConkey (Georgia)

Although McConkey is projected as a late first early second round pick, the tape he put on throughout his career at Georgia, Reese’s Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine was elite.

Despite this, for some reason McConkey is still not being talked about in the same breath as solidly projected first round picks at wide receiver such as Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze.

McConkey had 1,687 during his three years on the field in Athens with 14 touchdowns.

Anias Smith (Texas A&M)

Although not the same position, personally I think Smith who is projected to be a fifth round pick by NFL Draft Buzz is worth more attention that and could steal the show in the 2024 rookie class like his former Aggie teammate Achane.

During the NFL Combine, Smith posted a 4.51 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Although he is being looked at as a receiver, do not be surprised if Smith is used more as a utility offensive piece and you see him in the backfield as well. In addition to being used primarily as a receiver during his time in College Station, Smith saw some work at running back as well.

During his sophomore season, Smith ran for 293 yards on 49 carries.

Edgerrin cooper (Texas A&M)

Linebacker Edgerrin Cooper took the SEC by storm arguably the last two years, but really burst onto the scene in his junior campaign this past year in 2023. He totaled 84 tackles, eight sacks and had two fumble recoveries for the Aggies.

Get this; even with that production, Cooper is projected to be a second round pick or later.

According to PFF, “his lack of anticipation and instincts for deeper coverage work will likely keep him from being in the first round.

I do not know about you, but a player that led the SEC in 2023 with 17 tackles for loss is instinctive to me. He also finished 11th in the SEC in tackles and first for the Aggies.

Beaux Limmer (Arkansas)

The former Arkansas center projects to be an interior lineman at the next level and is projected to be a third to fifth round pick by many.

Limmer was the clear anchor and leader on the offensive line all season for the hogs who limped to a 4-8 record.

It would be intriguing to see how Limmer would be evaluated if the Hogs had simply had a better season in 2023. I believe that his stock was somewhat affected not by his talent, but by the teams performance, making him a good potential value pick for someone in the later rounds.

Kendall Milton (Georgia)

The former Georgia Bulldogs running back projects to be a day three pick. Or get this; some even have him going potentially undrafted. To me, that is crazy.

Injuries plagued Milton throughout his career in Athens, but he showed what he could do the last part of the 2023 season when finally healthy.

In the last five games of 2023, Milton went on an absolute tear amassing 495 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns. Three of these games Milton went over 100 yards on the ground.

The list could go on and on, but those are my top five selections value-wise to watch for in the 2024 NFL Draft out of the SEC.

Making the honorable mention would be Chris Braswell (LB, Alabama), Jaylen Wright (RB, Tennessee), Sedrick Van Pran (OL, Georgia), Ray Davis (RB, Kentucky), Charles Turner (OL, LSU), Daijun Edwards (RB, Georgia), Cameron Little (K, Arkansas)