Over the weekend, three former Ole Miss Rebels had their name called and realized their dream of playing in the National Football League had come true. Wide receiver Elijah Moore, offensive lineman Royce Newman, and tight end Kenny Yeboah are all on their way to playing professional football this week, etching their name in the history books for the most successful draft for the Southeastern Conference.
The SEC is on top ... nothing new #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/1pCa2zNNoI— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 2, 2021
First off the board on Friday was Moore, going to the New York Jets with the 34th overall pick. Many thought he had a real shot to go on night one to the Tennessee Titans at 22nd overall but general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel opted for defense.
ℕ ℝ ℕ @e_moore03 | #HottyToddypic.twitter.com/nsB1yb0NSF— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 30, 2021
Nevertheless, No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson got himself a legitimate weapon in the second round. The 2020 All-American was a record-breaking machine last season in Lane Kiffin’s first year in Oxford, breaking AJ Brown’s single season receptions record and damn near breaking the single season receiving yards record in just eight games.
Jets’ Elijah Moore caught 97% of catchable targets beyond the line of scrimmage in 2020.— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2021
Best among all WRs in College Football. pic.twitter.com/T02Hm7VtxR
We also got a behind the scenes look at Moore’s draft party where Brown was in attendance. The Titans receiver was obviously excited for his friend and former roommate, sharing this touching moment with all of us.
Titans star WR AJ Brown shed tears after his Ole Miss teammate Elijah Moore got taken by the Jets.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 1, 2021
This is so real. @brgridiron
(via @1kalwaysopen_) pic.twitter.com/B2W0HV7e4x
If you need any indication that Jets fans are excited, Moore’s jersey, which can be pre-ordered at Fanatics, was sold out a mere three hours after he was taken on Friday.
Next to go off the board was offensive lineman Royce Newman to the Packers on Saturday with the 142nd overall pick in the fourth round. Mr. Versatile proved his merit in 2020, moving around from guard to tackle during 2020 in a year when Ole Miss led the SEC in rushing yards per game in Jeff Lebby’s spread power run attack.
THE PICK IS IN— Green Bay Packers (@packers) May 1, 2021
With the 142nd pick in the 2021 #NFLDraft, the #Packers select Mississippi T/G Royce Newman!#PackersDraft | @SiriusXMNFL pic.twitter.com/UjwwNcqHjx
Newman’s stock went up after the Reese’s Senior Bowl where was able to showcase his ability to slide inside and outside against some of the nation’s best.
Beautiful combo from Trey Smith & Royce Newman on the backside of OZ vs. Payton Turner.— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) January 27, 2021
- Stab from Trey, release, & fit on the LB
- Newman's lateral quickness, staying square, & sealing Turner on the overtake. pic.twitter.com/5sIUAfFOTO
Last but certainly not least was tight end Kenny Yeboah who finally had his name called when the Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent Saturday evening.
Yeboah came to Oxford from Temple for a graduate transfer season and was a welcomed addition to Kiffin and Lebby’s offense, hauling in 27 receptions for 524 yards and six touchdowns. A nagging injury after running his first 40-yard dash at his pro day might’ve scared some teams off, but he is heading to Gotham City with Moore to join Wilson’s new offense under Mike LaFleur.
Grad Transfer Kenny Yeboah had 3 catches for 67 yards on this drive including this TD. 44-29 UF. @TheRebelWalk #OleMiss pic.twitter.com/N7lpUl1lIP— TJOxley1 (@TJOxley1) September 26, 2020
Yeboah burst onto the scene in week one with an outstanding performance against the Gators, but he really announced his arrival in the Rebels’ back-and-forth game against the eventual national champs.
Kenny Yeboah ranks in the FBS:— Derrell Hart Jr., Pharm.D. (@Derrell_PharmD) October 11, 2020
No. 2 among TEs in touchdowns with four touchdowns.
No. 2 among TEs in receiving yards with 355 yards.
No. 2 among TEs in yards per catch with 23.7 yards.
No. 7 among TEs in receptions with 15 catches. pic.twitter.com/KL3INKFnto
Yeboah had seven receptions against Alabama for 181 yards and two touchdowns, showing his ability to run after the catch in Ole Miss’ 63-48 loss last September.
All in all, it was another successful NFL Draft for Ole Miss which now boasts 28 current players in the league.