It’s an all-SEC battle to crown college football’s national champion on Monday night. Georgia and Alabama will square off for the right to call themselves the best, but many of these players will also be playing their final college game.
Professional scouts will be in attendance and NFL fans will be tuning in by the millions. If you’re a Los Angeles Chargers’ fan, there’s a good chance you could care less about the Bulldogs or the Crimson Tide. So, allow me to give you a little incentive to watch.
When a team has been eliminated from playoff contention, as the Chargers have, you’re looking toward next season, even if it is early January.
Both of these teams are loaded loaded with NFL prospects and who knows, maybe one of them will be wearing a Chargers uniform next season.
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
While not a “perfect” defensive tackle prospect, Da’Ron Payne looks awfully good.
At 6-2 and over 300 pounds, he’s quite athletic for a man his size. He has long arms, superior power and displays some pass-rush ability. However, the meat and potatoes of Payne’s game is his ability to push back offensive linemen to help shut down the running game.
A solid run defender himself, Payne could take a guard or center, sometimes both, and engage them so that a guy like Denzel Perryman can move up and put a clean hit on the runner.
He has tremendous gap discipline and would be an upgrade over the aging Brandon Mebane. If he’s on the board when the Chargers come up at No. 17 in the first round, expect the team to consider drafting Payne due to these skills and his surprising athletic ability.
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Fans should also keep an eye on Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, who may be the best overall player in this game, but he will likely be long gone before the Chargers make their first-round pick.
However, Alabama’s Rashaan Evans would do just fine as well.
A terrific prospect, Evans is a versatile linebacker who can play inside or outside. Able to drop back into coverage and hang with tight ends, running backs and slot receivers, he’s a three-down linebacker, the type of player good defensive teams covet.
Evans is a hard hitter who is also a great blitzer. Expect to see the Tide allow him to get after Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm in this game.
Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia
Another athletic big man, Isaiah Wynn is one of the key cogs to Georgia’s dynamic running game. Each time you see Nick Chubb or Sony Michel break off a big run, it’s a good bet that Wynn opened the hole. He holds his own in pass protection as well.
At the professional level, some teams may see him as a better fit at guard, but there is a great chance the Chargers will be looking to upgrade the offensive line in this draft. Wynn is a guy they could grab on day two in April and one who would improve the depth at offensive line on the team immediately.
Wynn is versatile enough that the Chargers could put him anywhere on the line but he could eventually be a terrific tackle for the team.