The young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa stole the spotlight in the National Championship, and gave Alabama fans a sweet revenge after losing the biggest game of the season a year ago.
The Hawaiian QB still has plenty of years left in college, but several of Alabamas National Champions will be entering the NFL Draft this spring, and several should be picked in the first round.
Position: Defensive back
Size: 6-1, 202 lbs.
The obvious one. There are always a couple of safeties seperating themselves from the bunch, and this year, that guy is Minkah Fitzpatrick. The 21 year old defensive back can, much like former 1st round pick Jalen Ramsey, play both safety and cornerback. Ramsey found his place outside for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and is arguably one of the best young corners in the game right now. Fitzpatrick has that same roof.
This was Minkah’s third season with Alabama, but he has just picked off the opponents quarterback nine times over those three years. In 2017, he only had one interception. However, QBs rarely target Minkah this season, and the lone interception shouldn’t be enough to scare NFL teams away from picking a rare DB talent like Fitzpatrick in the first round.
It’s simply hard to find any other knocks on him. He’s young. He’s good. He’ll be a first-rounder.
Position: Wide Receiver
Size: 6-1, 190 lbs.
Ridley is arguably the best wide receiver coming out this year. As Fitzpatrick, Ridley has played three seasons in Tuscaloosa, and been a very important piece of the offense. He exploded out of the gate as a freshman, catching passes for 1045 yards. He couldn’t quite get the same numbers with Jalen Hurts, but still ended up with over 60 receptions and over 700 yards in both of his last two seasons. As for touchdowns, he only caught five in 2017, but one of those was the great touchdown catch to tie the National Championship last night.
Ridley doesn’t really have elite size, but plays bigger. Cause if you don’t mind the size, he’s a playmaker. He stepped up in big occasions, and was a big reason why Alabama has been in three straight National Championship games while he was there. Because of the thin wide receiver class, Ridley will be a 1st round pick.
Position: Defensive tackle
Size: 6-2, 308 lbs.
Tua stole the spotlight, but Payne shined bright as well. The defensive tackle was a beast against Clemson, and backed it up with a fantastic performance against Georgia in the National Championship. A few years ago he would’ve been slated as “too small”, but after a couple of “smaller” defensive tackles with recent success in the NFL, Da’Ron is exactly what teams are looking for.
He too has three years under his belt, and has been responsible for a total of 102 tackles – with half coming in 2017. That’s insane. Payne is first an foremost a run stopper, but can get to the quarterback too. He’s one of those players that makes the entire unit look good. And he’s just 20 years old! First round prospect.
Size: 6-3, 214 lbs.
It’s easy to look good next to Minkah Fitzpatrick, but when you have the mind of a quarterback, it’s even easier. Harrison played QB in high school, but Nick Saban made him switchb to safety. That has worked, as Harrison has 7 interceptions and 110 solo tackles to his name.
As you can imagine from those stats, Harrison loves to hit. His instincts are great, and he reacts and closes gaps in a hurry. He’s drawn comparisions to Kam Chancellor, and if those comparisions are true…
You guessed it. First-rounder.
Position: Running back
Size: 5-11, 221 lbs.
Damien Harris isn’t a sure 1st round pick like the players above, but the young running back out-worked Bo Scarbrough this season, and recorded his second straight 1000 yard season. However, what made him seperate himself from the backfield this year: He scored. A lot. 11 rushing touchdowns in 2017 is seven more than what he managed in 2016 and 2015 together.
He got nice size for a pro prospect, and even though there are a lot of good running backs in 2018 NFL draft, he has a shot at sneaking into the first round.