Whole Nine Sports

Ole Miss Rebels NFL Draft Prospects

Lucas VanDenBroek
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In only his second year Lane Kiffin led the Rebels to a historic season down in Oxford. They reached 10 wins for the first time in program history, headlined by talented players such as Sam Williams, Jerrion Ealy and of course, quarterback Matt Corral. They exceeded expectations this year, finishing second in the SEC West with a 6-2 conference record. Going into the season unranked, they put together a strong 10-3 record and ending with a bowl loss (missing some starters) to Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. However, they were able to pull another victory in the Egg Bowl against state rivals Mississippi State. The Rebels peaked at #8 this year and ending at #11. year and Kiffin will have lots to build on next year with new transfer Jaxon Dart and the number 23 recruiting class.

Unsurprising for a Lane Kiffin coached team, Ole Miss’ draft class is littered with offensive players.

Matt Corral

matt corral nfl draft
Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The first of these players is Matt Corral the potential first quarterback taken. Corral excels when he is able to play in a timing-based offense. He is skilled at throwing short and medium routes as he can diagnose and pull the trigger quickly and accurately. He has good touch on the ball and makes it catchable for his receiver. He can fit into tight windows as well. Corral struggles with deep passes. He has a good arm, but lacks technique, touch and accuracy when throwing long. Corral was also used on the run very often. He is an above average athlete and will be able to provide some rushing upside and movement in the pocket for his NFL squad. However, Corral is slow at diagnosing pressure, and this can lead to unnecessary sacks or fumbles. He can struggle when he gets flushed out of the pocket, but still has flashes of accuracy and can build upon this with more reps. He manipulates the pocket well when he is able to diagnose the front and if there are no blitzes. He does a great job of keeping his eyes down the field. Another thing Corral struggles with is his progressions. He does get to his first read and often second read quickly but has a tendency to lock on to one of these guys. He almost never moves past his third read. Corral is a tough quarterback. He played through ankle injuries in the Auburn game and was able to keep bouncing back up after taking multiple hits with his shoddy offensive line. Corral should not start immediately in the NFL but may be thrust into this role anyways. He needs some time to learn the play book and would function best in a system like the Miami Dolphins run, which is very RPO heavy.


Mid Day 2 Grade

Role Player, Starter Potential

Jerrion Ealy

jerrion ealy nfl draft

Jerrion Ealy is the primary running back for the Rebels. He has a small frame and this coupled with injury issues this could prevent Ealy from becoming a workhorse running back in the NFL. However, he was still able to generate yardage through breaking tackles despite this frame. He is a patient runner and waits behind the line for things to open up before he kicks things into second gear. His acceleration is outstanding. However, when waiting behind the line he takes too many steps and can be a little bit unsure. He needs to clean his footwork up. Ealy has good start-stop ability, change of direction ability, and nice elusiveness. However, Ole Miss’ line did not do him many favours and it was hard for him to make the most of this ability. Ole Miss never asked Ealy to run many routes, but when he did or was the primary read on a pass play, he made the most of them. He has an impressive talent for hauling in off target balls with one hand and should be able to provide pass catching upside in the NFL. Ealy will find the most success in an outside run scheme and on third downs, providing value as a pass catching back. 


Early Day 3 


Snoop Conner

snoop conner nfl draft

Snoop Conner is the second part of the tandem the Ole Miss Rebels ran with in the 2021 season. He has a bulky frame and good strength and power for the position. The most consistent way he creates his own yardage is through his bruising run style and breaking tackles. He hits the hole with speed and power but needs to work on being more patient and allowing the play to develop. He lacks elusiveness and the ability to make a man miss. Conner also lacks the necessary speed and acceleration to challenge the edge and found most of his success running between the tackles. Ole Miss did not ask Conner to catch many passes or run any routes, but the few times he did he seemed like a consistent pass catcher out of the backfield. Conner’s real value on third down lies with his pass blocking ability. He is a stout defender and seems to love the contact. Conner should find the most success in the NFL on an inside zone scheme and runs up the middle. He needs time to develop his vision a little bit more but can provide upside on every down.

Late Day 3
Practice Squad Candidate

Dontario Drummond

dontario drummond

Dontario Drummond played wide receiver for the Ole Miss Rebels. He lined up on the outside and the inside. He has a tall and long frame, and he uses this frame well to high point balls and win contested catches. He also possesses a good catch radius and is adept at tracking the ball deep even with inaccurate passes. However, Drummond suffers from a general lack of athleticism. He is below average in speed, acceleration, change of direction ability and start-stop ability. This also hurts him on his routes. He keeps his hips too loose and high and does not keep his routes tight and clean. However, when he does get open for the ball, he has good hands and provides some YAC upside with his big frame and bruising running style. He also is a willing blocker in the run game and seems to relish the contact. Drummond is best suited for playing on the outside and in a scheme where timing is not emphasised, and freelancing is seen as a strength. You can catch Drummond at the Senior Bowl this week.


Late Day 3 

Practice Squad Candidate

Sam Williams

Sam Williams nfl draft

There are two players on defense that Rebels fans should look out to be drafted in the upcoming NFL Draft and hopefully star on Sundays like they shone on Saturdays. The first of these is Sam Williams. Williams lined up all over the formation for the Rebels, but mostly played as an DE in a 4-3 scheme. He has just average first step explosiveness and speed. Despite his pro size frame, he needs to add more strength still as he would still get bullied in one-on-one spots and struggle to maintain his place during double teams. He has great length and uses it well to delay the tackle getting his hands into his chest. He also used this length in the run game, where he should shine. Williams has good change of direction and short area speed and decent slipperiness for a man his size. He also has a powerful punch that is his most consistent way of winning against tackles. However, Williams lacks any sort of pass rush plan and relies more on his average athleticism than his technique to win reps. He also has below average bend and can struggle to penetrate the pocket from the back or side. He becomes unbalanced too easily. Williams will need time before he can see snaps in the NFL. He needs to add to his strengths and develop some pass rushing moves in order to become a contributor, especially on early downs and in NASCAR packages.

Late Day 3
Practice Squad Candidate 

Lakia Henry

lakia henry nfl draft

Lakia Henry primarily played WILL linebacker for the Ole Miss Rebels. He is a small, framed linebacker and may struggle with the physical rigors of the NFL. He is a fluid athlete. His hips are smooth and allow him to change direction quickly and move efficiently. Henry does lack top end speed and will struggle moving sideline to sideline or carrying receivers down the field. He fills run fits quickly and has great burst and closing speed, but sometimes struggles making a tackle. He is susceptible to being washed out in the run game. His small size hurts him when getting blocked in the run game and has trouble with broken tackles. Henry does have great tackling form out of necessity. He provides upside in coverage but is a bit slow to diagnose the play call and can sometimes get lost in the sauce. Henry would be best suited for special teams at the moment. He may find some playing time on coverage reps at the next level but needs to add some bulk if he wants to be a reliable run defender. 


Late Day 3
Practice Squad Candidate

Ole Miss will have to do a lot to replace these guys, but with a smart offensive mind like Lane Kiffin, they are in good hands.
Prospects to watch for next year: OG Nick Broeker, S AJ Finley, WR Jonathan Mingo, CB Miles Battle, DT KD Hill.