With just a month to go until the 2016 NFL Draft, the coaches, scouts and NFL personnel are making their rounds cross-country to get one last glimpse of the country’s well-known to unknown secrets. Today, the “circus” of NFL coaches and scouts makes a stop in Oxford and I’m certain that stop will be an affair to remember. 18 Rebels will take to the gridiron to workout for Ole Miss 2016 Pro Day.
There is a lot of buzz on Ole Miss as its Pro Days as one of the events to watch for this year. For the first time in Ole Miss history, the event will be televised on NFL Network and SEC Network, beginning at 10:30 a.m. (Central Time). You can use WatchESPN to see this event online.
The participating Rebels are:
- Byron Bennett (defensive line)
- Serderius Bryant (linebacker)
- Vince Sanders (wide receiver)
- Justin Bell (offensive guard)
- Chief Brown (defensive back)
- Fahn Cooper (offensive tackle)
- Cody Core (wide receiver)
- Trae Elston (safety)
- Woodrow Hamilton (defensive tackle)
- Mike Hilton (defensive back)
- C.J. Johnson (linebacker)
- Aaron Morris (offensive guard)
- Robert Nkemdiche (defensive tackle)
- Christian Russell (linebacker)
- Laquon Treadwell (wide receiver)
- Laremy Tunsil (offensive tackle)
- Jaylen Walton (running back)
- Channing Ward (defensive end)
While these 18 Rebels are working to become a promising game-changer for some NFL teams, the focus will undoubtedly show potential first-rounders: Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche.
Tunsil, a two-time All-American, three time All-SEC and a three-year starting left tackle for Ole Miss, is the heavy contender to be selected the overall first draft pick by the Tennessee Titans. (They sure could use him). Tunsil has been one of the top offensive machines that has enabled the Rebels’ offense: not just reaching records but dominating and developing into a powerhouse over the course of the last two seasons. If the Titans pass on Tunsil for some foolish reason, he will be another team’s treasure. I can’t wait to see how Tunsil transitions from powerhouse SEC Lineman to the NFL.
Treadwell is a Rebel for the records, to say the least. Projected to go within the first 20 picks of this year’s NFL Draft. He will be an asset to any team that acquires him. Treadwell was a force to be reckoned with the moment he stepped foot onto gridiron at Ole Miss. In his freshman season, he was named the 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year with a record 72 catches. He was named to the All-America and All-SEC teams in his three seasons at Ole Miss. And he is the all-time leading pass catcher in Rebels’ history with 202 career receptions which is seventh in SEC history. Take a look at what he managed to do in one season alone: in his junior season, Treadwell had the most catches in a season with 82, most yards in a season with 1,153, most touchdown catches with 11 and the most 100 yard receiving games with six. His resume speaks for itself. I will be interested to see what team is going to wind up with this talent, but I know there may be some steals or trades to get Treadwell.
Nkemdiche, despite his buzz off the field, has unquestionably commanding talent on a defensive line as the two-time All-American and All-SEC defensive tackle. Projected to go during the first round of this year’s draft, Nkemdiche had 98 career tackles with 19 for loss and seven sacks during his time as an Ole Miss Rebel. What is appealing about Robert Nkemdiche is his athletic talent that has not only proven itself on the defensive end but on the offensive end as well with three offensive touchdowns and as a punt protector on special teams. He could be a total package which is what NFL teams are searching for this year. We will see if his talent is enough for the top NFL teams to take a chance on with his controversial nature off-field in mind. Only time will tell. But, judging on pure talent, I believe it would be a mistake to overlook his athletic abilities, versatility and contributions in leading the Rebels to a strong season in just a short amount of time.
Regardless of whether all of these Rebels are going in the first round or the last round – they have talent because today, they have the chance to make it into the NFL. These tryouts are a once in a lifetime moment that a few get to experience. I wish good luck to all of our Rebels at today’s Pro Day. Let’s give them all a Hotty Toddy!
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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