Ole Miss could lose an all-star lineup of talent to the NFL Draft
The amount of talent the Ole Miss Rebels are losing this offseason is staggering.
Most teams would love to have just a few of these players. Three draft-eligible juniors are expected to go in the top 10 in the 2016 NFL draft.
Add in the players who will complete their eligibility and there’s almost enough departing talent to put together an all-conference team.
Here is a list of the players departing Ole Miss after the Allstate Sugar Bowl:
DE Robert Nkemdiche: Considered the best defensive end college prospect, the junior will likely go in the top five in next year’s NFL draft. His stats don’t jump off the page, but he took on double teams all season long and allowed other teammates to make big plays. Hurt part of the season, Nkemdiche finished 2015 with 26 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.
OT Laremy Tunsil: Considered the best offensive lineman in college football, Tunsil will probably join Nkemdiche as a top five pick. Tunsil missed the first seven games this season due to an NCAA investigation. In SEC games without him, Ole Miss averaged 104 rushing yards. In conference games with Tunsil, the Rebels averaged about 201 yards on the ground.
WR Laquon Treadwell: Another junior that could be selected in the top 10, Treadwell set career-highs with 76 catches, 1,082 yards, a 14.2- yards-per-catch average and eight touchdowns. He has all the looks of the next great NFL rookie wide receiver.
RB Jaylen Walton: The first senior on our list, Walton had a hard time getting going, but posted 690 rushing yards on 5.1 yards per carry. Walton finished second on the team with 856 yards from scrimmage on the No. 1 SEC offense.
LB C.J. Johnson: The emotional leader of the defense, Johnson collected 39 tackles while missing four games due to a torn meniscus. In a full 2014 season, Johnson had 8 tackles for loss and 4 sacks.
LB Denzel Nkemdiche: Robert’s older brother picked up the slack when Johnson was out in the middle of the season. Denzel had 56 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss. The senior has 27.0 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions in his career.
DB Trae Elston: The senior led Ole Miss with 12 pass defenses, four interceptions and two defensive TDs. He also finished second on the team with 66 tackles.
DB Mike Hilton: The versatile senior had an exceptional season with 65 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also had nine pass defenses, two interceptions and one forced fumble.
OL Fahn Cooper: The senior stepped up to play left tackle while Tunsil was out during the first seven games. Cooper switched back to right tackle after Tunsil’s return. That solidified the Ole Miss offensive line and allowed the Rebels to lead the conference in offense.
TE Evan Engram: One of the best tight ends in the SEC, Engram finished with 32 receptions, 368 yards and two touchdowns.
QB Chad Kelly: The junior-college transfer had a tremendous season after an inconsistent start. Kelly posted 3,740 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also broke Eli Manning’s single season record with 37 total TDs. In his last three SEC games, Kelly had 1,149 total yards, 13 total TDs and zero interceptions.
Safety Tony Conner: The junior has 152 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions in his three seasons at Ole Miss. Conner missed the final seven games of the season due to a meniscus tear.