Projections and intel on Alabama’s draft-eligible players


CW / Hannah Saad

James Ogletree | @jameslogletree, Sports Editor

With all of Alabama football’s NFL draft decisions officially announced except for junior running back Najee Harris, The Crimson White reached out for opinions on the Crimson Tide’s draft-eligible players from two NFL draft analysts: The Athletic’s Dane Brugler (DB) and The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid (JR). Below are their comments and overall rankings for each player. Players with asterisks (*) next to their names had a year of eligibility remaining at Alabama.

Tua Tagovailoa*

DB (4) “He made the correct choice… another injury would have derailed his NFL grade. … There are a few things working against [him] like his size and injury history, but he is an instinctive player with the accuracy and decision-making to make plays. If healthy, he is a top-five pick.”

JR (5) “Without question [he made the right decision.] One-hundred percent. … It just all comes down to the combine medicals, and every team’s gonna have a different evaluation on him. … Durability’s gonna be a big question mark with him.”

Najee Harris* (has not announced decision yet)

DB (86) “With the short shelf life of the position, I think he should declare. … I would tell him that I don’t think another season would drastically change his draft grade. He has improved his patience and run decision-making, but his vision isn’t quite where it needs to be.”

JR “This year I thought he really blossomed. … As far as his vision, slowing the game down a little bit more, I think that’s something he could work on. And then, of course, he could always work on his pass protection stuff.”

Jerry Jeudy*

DB (11) “Jeudy is outstanding, but he’s not the consensus top receiver in his own class. … Jeudy has great start/stop skills and route-running savvy.”

JR (7) “I call him a video game, just because whenever you’re creating a player and you’re giving the attribute package, you’re putting up his juke move, you’re turning up his agility, his awareness, his catching and all of that stuff. … He just makes defenders look like they’re grabbing at ghosts.”

Henry Ruggs III*

DB (13) “[I like his] competitive make-up. He has track speed, but he is a football player with the toughness and determination that shows on film. And it’s not just his pure speed, but his ability to shift gears mid-route puts cornerbacks in a blender, creating his own separation.”

JR (13) “He puts you in the mind frame of Tyreek Hill. … He’s not just a speed demon; I think he’s an all-around really good receiver. … He could be a little bit more physical.”

Jedrick Wills Jr.*

DB (8) “He’s the best tackle I’ve scouted this draft cycle. Explosive big man with immense talent, and he’s still getting better. All the tools are there to be a high-level player in the NFL.”

JR (5) “I just love how he’s developed every single year. … I just love how he stays on balance. … Edge rushers are so good in the SEC, but he’s able to mirror them so well, and then you combine that with the strength that he has, it makes for a dominant SEC tackle. … Without question, he’s gonna be a top-10 pick.”

Xavier McKinney*

DB (30) “There are spacing issues in coverage on his tape, but I like how he doesn’t panic, and there are enough athletic traits there to improve. He hits with lead in his pads. McKinney is a modern-day strong safety, which should land him in round one.”

JR (18) “I’m a big Xavier McKinney fan. He’s a safety who can do it all. … He’s not overly great in coverage – I think he’s right around average on that – but if you keep him at that strong safety role, he can come down and tackle. … He also was a surprisingly good blitzer.”

Trevon Diggs

DB (19) “Diggs lacks refinement, both physically and mentally. The Alabama coaches allow him to be an athlete, but that causes his footwork to get tied up or his body pointed the wrong way. Mentally, he needs to do a better job recognizing route combinations to bait throws. But they are fixable concerns,and his athleticism should land him in round one.”

JR (20) “I think he’s probably the top-ranked guy [on Alabama’s defense] … I thought he showed a lot of promise this year.”

Raekwon Davis

DB (65) “He is a stout run defender with the lateral quickness to move up and down the line to fill gaps, but doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher right now. I think he’ll put up solid numbers at the Combine, but nothing freaky.”

JR (48) “The thing you worry about is ‘Has he hit his ceiling?’ … He broke out really early on. … He just hasn’t taken that next step forward. … He showed some really good hand usage and power [against South Carolina this year]. … I think [getting upfield quickly] better suits Raekwon.”

Terrell Lewis*

DB (40) “His absolute ceiling is Danielle Hunter with the Vikings [two-time Pro Bowler, 29 sacks over last two years]. … Lewis [rushes] with springs in his legs, but he needs to refine his attack and better set up blockers with variety. He wasn’t always allowed to let it loose in Alabama’s scheme.”

JR (32) “I wouldn’t go that far [as the Hunter comparison]. … The thing you notice about Terrell Lewis is explosiveness, his first step up the field. He’s super fast out of the blocks. … He needs to gain some weight in his lower body.”

Anfernee Jennings

DB “Jennings has an impressive resume and is a solid player. He can rush and play the run, but he needs to show he is reliable in space when asked to drop and cover.”

JR (122) “Another guy that had some durability concerns. … He has sneaky athleticism, and he holds at the point of attack.”

Shyheim Carter

DB “Carter has experience in the nickel and can see reps at cornerback or safety, but he doesn’t have the size NFL teams seek at safety or the speed to stick at corner. He’s a late-round player who will need to impress with his smarts.”

JR (150) “I like him a lot. … He’s a jack-of-all-trades guy. … I love how he comes up to tackle, he’s reliable in coverage. I think he probably has to transition to strong safety. … Probably fourth or fifth round, maybe sixth round, is a fair range for him.”

Jared Mayden

DB “Mayden had a few flashes this season, but his inexperience continued to show, not taking proper angles or making false steps. Testing well at the Combine and workouts will be the key to him getting more looks.”