The Southeast is always a hotbed for football talent, and this year is no exception. There are some prospects from the local Atlanta area (or at least attended school there) who could be making a big splash in the NFL next year, but it starts with the Draft on Thursday.
The highest rated local prospect is unquestionably Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, who is considered one of the better, if not best, prospects in the draft. The latest edition of the 2011 NFL Mock Draft at SB Nation has Green going to the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 4 overall selection in the Draft. Here is their rationale.
Right now, the smart money is on the Bengals passing on Blaine Gabbert, taking A.J. Green, and trying to move back up for a quarterback. That'd be a gamble, but may pay big long-term dividends. Green is a stud.
Green is a stud, and I don't think a team that could be losing it's top two receivers can really afford to look past him in the first round. Whether he goes to the Bengals or not, I think that Green goes somewhere in the first 5-7 picks.
The other Georgia prospect that might make his way into the First Round is outside linebacker Justin Houston. He's projected to go anywhere from the late first to early second round. Peter King of Sports Illustrated actually thinks that Houston might actually stay local, and that the Falcons might have some interest in him with their first round pick.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28, and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft.