SDS Mailbag: Predicting No. 1 overall pick in 2023, Group of 5 teams that could succeed in the SEC and more
The SEC Softball Tournament is in full swing (get it? Swing? Like a bat?) this week in Gainesville. Friday marks the start of the semifinal round, with the title game on Saturday.
But, what a tournament it has already been! We’ve had upsets, a steal of home, a 13-inning game with a final score of 1-0 and much, much more.
Whatever happens these next 2 days, it is sure to be exciting. If you’re not tuning in yet, there’s still time. Enjoy a sneak peek at some of these top teams, because the SEC is sure to send several teams to the NCAA Tournament!
Now, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s Mailbag:
I’ve seen some variations in early 2023 NFL mock drafts. Some have Will Anderson going No. 1 overall. Others have Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. Will Levis is also getting some hype for the top spot. Who would you choose?
I like Will Levis and think he is certainly worthy of Round 1 discussion ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, but I’d say pump the brakes on the Kentucky quarterback as the No. 1 overall pick. Yes, Bryce Young is a bit small, but we’ve seen smaller quarterbacks go No. 1 overall in recent years (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray come to mind).
CJ Stroud is also likely to put up huge numbers once again at Ohio State this fall and enter the No. 1 overall pick conversation.
Will Anderson Jr. is the most dominant player in college football, in my opinion, and if the NFL Draft were held in a vacuum, he should be the No. 1 overall pick. However, next year’s draft has a deep quarterback class, and there are a few teams that could be in the market for quarterbacks (including the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and others).
So, I’d expect a quarterback to go No. 1, whether a team has to trade up to that spot or if the team that “earns” the top pick is one of those QB-needy squads. My prediction, as things stand right now, is that Young will hear his name called first next April in Kansas City.
Which incoming SEC men’s basketball transfer are you most excited about?
There’s an influx of talent heading to new SEC schools ahead of the 2022-23 season. I think Trevon Brazile (Mizzou to Arkansas), Mark Sears (Ohio to Alabama), KJ Williams (Murray State to LSU) and Alex Fudge (LSU to Florida) are going to be immediately successful.
But, to me, there’s only one answer to this question, and that’s Johni Broome (Morehead State to Auburn). I think Broome is going to be an absolute superstar for the Tigers this coming season.
The Tigers are losing big man Walker Kessler to the NBA Draft, but Broome looks poised to step into that role. Broome averaged 3.9 blocks per game last year, behind only Kessler and Jamarion Sharp of Western Kentucky, both of whom swatted 4.6 shots per contest.
He also averaged 16.8 points per game, so he is no slouch on that end of the court, either. This highlight reel shows a player ready to be a star on a big stage:
I absolutely cannot wait to see him in Bruce Pearl’s offense next year!
If you had to pick 2 Group of 5 teams that you think would fare the best long-term in the SEC, who would you pick?
First off, let’s establish here that I don’t think any Group of 5 teams could compete very well long-term in the SEC. There’s too much money involved in the league these days.
But, there are a couple of intriguing options. First up would be UCF. The Knights are located in a talent-rich state (Florida), so recruiting SEC-level talent would be easier for them than for a number of other Group of 5 schools.
Second would be Houston. The Cougars have access to some serious cash already and have had plenty of winning seasons since the turn of the century. They have a strong coach in Dana Holgorsen and have a knack for lighting up the scoreboard. There’s a reason the Big 12 pounced on the Cougars and the Knights when Texas and Oklahoma revealed they were heading to the SEC.
Honorable mentions go to Memphis and Cincinnati, teams also located in or near the SEC footprint that have had plenty of success in recent years. Those 4 squads have what it takes to at least win a few games in the SEC every year, even if they aren’t anywhere near the level of Alabama and Georgia.
Any good summer drink recommendations?
I’m all-in on mezcal lately. It’s a smokier, heavier version of tequila. I don’t usually care for tequila, but there are several mezcals I really like.
I prefer to sip on it neat, but it also goes really well as a substitute for bourbon in an old fashioned. Don’t get me wrong – I still love bourbon old fashioneds, but switching it up to mezcal every now and then isn’t bad, either!
It’s just mezcal, some simple syrup, Angostura bitters, an orange peel and a big ice cube. Pretty simple cocktail to make.
That’s been my go-to here lately as the days get warmer and the sun stays out longer.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.