From Oxford to the Pros: How Do Drafted Ole Miss Rebels Fit Into New NFL Homes?

The Ole Miss Rebels had three players selected in the 2024 NFL Draft over the weekend, and their dreams of playing professional football are now becoming a reality.

Two of the former Rebels were selected by the same franchise, but how will all three mesh with their new team? Let’s take a look at each individual case below.

Deantre Prince — 5th Round, Jacksonville Jaguars

Deantre Prince was the first Rebel off the board and is headed to Florida to play for Doug Pederson and first-year defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen.

Prince started 13 games for the Rebels at cornerback the last two seasons. For the Jags, this is a great depth piece who could be a real contributor down the road once he develops into an NFL system. With Prince, you get plus speed on a 6-foot frame. Something that you can’t get enough in the NFL is speed, and Prince has that.

The Jags added veteran Ronald Darby to a subpar secondary who allowed 20 yards or more on 9.7 percent of pass plays in the 2023 season. If Prince gets an opportunity and performs, taking the spot away from him may be hard.

Cedric Johnson — 6th Round, Cincinnati Bengals

Cedric Johnson was the next Rebel selected in the 2024 NFL draft. The Cincinnati Bengals took the Rebels’ edge rusher after taking two interior defensive linemen in rounds two and three. The Bengals look to be completing a total rebuild of their defensive front just days after trade rumors for Pro Bowl defensive end Trey Hendrickson began to swirl.

Johnson has played tons of football and was a big contributor for Pete Golding’s defensive front in 2023. He has a big frame at 6-foot-3, weighing in at 260 pounds and excelling in setting the edge. One thing that separates him from a higher-round draft pick is his ability to rush the passer. Johnson has tons of athletic upside, and with some refining of his pass rush, he could be a steal.

Daijahn Anthony — 7th Round, Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals look to take the AFC North by storm this upcoming season as Cedric Johnson and Daijahn Anthony join Rebel legend Mike Hilton on the Bengals defense.

Anthony blew up after a stellar junior season at Liberty and committed to Ole Miss after entering the transfer portal. The new strong safety made an immediate impact with an interception and multiple tackles in the week one victory over the Mercer Bears. He also went viral for a big-time hit he put on eventual second-overall pick Jayden Daniels.

Anthony is a raw talent who can play both man and center field for a defense. He has also plays very aggressively, which is a plus against the run. His nose for the ball last season has to pop off the screen with eight pass breakups and eight picks. This is a great depth piece for the Bengals as they lost Von Bell and Jessie Bates in free agency.

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