The 2023 NFL Draft Finds the Sun Belt Ready

The Sun Belt has radically increased its NFL Combine invites from just six in 2022 to 12 in 2023, which doesn’t necessarily have bearing on the NFL Draft. However, those invited to pump iron and run cone drills in the Combine generally have an inside track to the Draft.

While the Sun Belt didn’t make seismic waves during the Combine (I recall a brief mention of Old Dominion’s enormous TE Zack Kuntz earning positive reviews), you can reasonably count on these players having a chance to hear their name Thursday or (more likely) Friday and Saturday.

Nick HamptonDLAppalachian St.
Cam PeoplesRBAppalachian St.
Lance BoykinDBCoastal Carolina
Jerrod ClarkDLCoastal Carolina
Michael JeffersonWRLouisiana
Andre Jones JrLBLouisiana
Zack KuntzTEOld Dominion
Nick ZaldiveriOLOld Dominion
Darell Luter JrDBSouth Alabama
Jalen WayneWRSouth Alabama
Jason BrownleeWRSouthern Miss
Jake AndrewsOLTroy
Your Sun Belt NFL Combine Invitees

According to CBS, Old Dominion offensive lineman Nick Saldiveri is projected to be the first Sun Belter off the board. Following Saldiveri is South Alabama defensive back Darrell Luter Jr. and then the before mentioned Kuntz.

Others making the CBS list are DL Nick Hampton (Appalachian State), OL Jake Andrews (Troy), CB Tre Hawkins (Old Dominion), DB Lance Boykin (Coastal Carolina), DL Jarrod Clark (Coastal Carolina), WR Jalen Wayne (South Alabama), WR Jason Brownlee (Southern Miss), WR Michael Jefferson (Louisiana), LB Andre Jones (Louisiana), DT Shakel Brown (Troy), RB Chris Smith (Louisiana), RB Cameron Peoples (Appalachian State), and LB Carlton Martial (Troy).

CBS appears to have the same idea about the Combine, with only Martial, Brown and Smith not receiving Combine invites. The 2023 NFL Draft is held April 27, 28, and 29 in Kansas City, MO.