Two players who will suit up this fall as part of the 2018 Ole Miss football team have been projected as top 10 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. placed wide receiver A.J. Brown and offensive tackle Greg Little in the top 10 picks in the first iteration of his 2019 NFL Draft class rankings. Brown ranked as the No. 1 wide receiver prospect and No. 4 overall, and Little came in as the No. 1 offensive line prospect and No. 6 overall.
Brown’s physical traits and on-field production are his greatest attributes heading into the 2018 season. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound receiver combines the build of a linebacker with the speed and smoothness necessary to play from the slot. Brown used his skill set to great effect during the 2017 season, during which he caught 75 passes, broke the Ole Miss single-season record for receiving yards (1,252), led the SEC in receiving yards and tied Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam for most touchdown receptions (11) by an SEC player. He consistently shed tacklers and has also showcased soft hands and the ability to attack the ball at its high point.
Though Brown’s accomplishments might be more noticeable, Little’s efforts have been just as impressive. The former five-star recruit and No. 1 high school offensive lineman prospect immediately made an impact throughout his freshman year at Ole Miss, during which he started at left tackle in five games, played in every game and earned his status as a freshman All-American. He locked down the Rebels’ left tackle position in 2017 and served as the anchor for the offensive line of the No. 18 total offense in the nation. He has also showcased incredible athleticism for his 6-foot-6, 325-pound frame.
247Sports’ Chris Hummer also has Brown and Little in his top 10, per his “Way-too-early 2019 NFL Draft big board,” at No. 9 and No. 4, respectively.
“PFF College gave Little an 85.3 overall grade in 2017, and his 87.3 pass block grade is well ahead of the other blind side protectors under consideration,” Hummer said. “PFF College rated Brown as an 85.2 for the year, which was 25th nationally among receivers.”
Many of the early projections are based only on the expectation that a player will continue his past form. Analysts and scouts look for prospects’ potential, and the athleticism and experience of Brown and Little have set them apart from many of their peers and have made them enticing players for scouts to watch during the 2018 season.
Little and Brown were also a part of a select group of student-athletes chosen to participate in the second annual Elite Student-Athlete Symposium in early March. The NCAA developed the two-day symposium to inform student-athletes with realistic professional sports aspirations about the transition into professional life and to advise them about preparations they can make during the 2018-19 academic year. NFL Players Association officials, former NFL players and other knowledgeable officials advised student-athletes about topics such as selecting agents, financial awareness and the importance of academics.
Brown and Little will both be eligible to declare early for the draft after the 2018 season, though both currently have two years of eligibility remaining.