Sports

Jaheim Bell, Cam Smith seen as first spherical NFL Draft picks


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South Carolina’s Jaheim Bell scores a landing Thursday towards North Carolina within the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

The State

The 2022 NFL Draft has simply wrapped up, however a handful of Gamecocks are already being projected as potential first rounders in subsequent 12 months’s occasion.

Pro Football Focus launched its way-too-early projections for the 2023 NFL Draft on Monday, together with South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith and tight finish/receiver Jaheim Bell as potential first spherical picks.

Smith — who was slotted at No. 12 to the Philadelphia Eagles — has been a stalwart at nook during the last two seasons and initiatives as the highest defensive again in USC’s secondary this fall.

The Westwood High School product was named a second-team All-SEC performer by The Associated Press and PFF final season after permitting simply 15 catches on 32 targets for 184 yards. Smith additionally added a trio of interceptions and 9 move breakups.

Bell heads into the 2022 season oozing with potential given the athletic dynamism he’s flashed in spurts over his two years in Columbia.

Projected No. 29 to the Green Bay Packers subsequent 12 months, the Florida native completed second on the group in receptions (30) and yards receiving (497) receiving, whereas his 5 landing catches tied for the squad lead.

South Carolina’s teaching workers has raved about Bell’s versatility all through the spring. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield indicated he’ll be utilized in a litany of formations from receiver to tight finish to working again. Bell has been dubbed a “wide back” given his positional flexibility.

“He’s one of the top athletes, football players in the country,” Satterfield stated in March. “… The more that we can develop his understanding, football IQ and the transitions on the field, he can be unstoppable like he was in the bowl game.”

Though not included in PFF’s preliminary projections, it’s extensively anticipated quarterback Spencer Rattler will even be in play as a attainable first-round choose subsequent 12 months. Rattler was a perceived choice for the No. 1 general choose in 2022 heading into final season earlier than his marketing campaign at Oklahoma was derailed.

The ex-Sooner has since landed at South Carolina with Beamer, a former OU assistant, in hopes of rekindling the momentum he had heading into his second season as a starter in Norman.

South Carolina has had three gamers chosen within the first spherical of the NFL Draft during the last 5 years. Cornerback Jaycee Horn was the latest first-rounder when he went No. 9 general to the Carolina Panthers in 2021.

This story was initially printed May 2, 2022 10:13 AM.

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Ben Portnoy is The State’s South Carolina Gamecocks soccer beat author. He’s a five-time Associated Press Sports Editors award honoree and has earned recognition from the Mississippi Press Association and the National Sports Media Association. Portnoy beforehand coated Mississippi State for the Columbus Commercial Dispatch and Indiana soccer for the Journal Gazette in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

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