NFL Draft College Spotlight: Take One

USA Today

Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson, Oklahoma. What do all of these teams have in common? They are often powerhouses in the NFL Draft, grooming top tier pro talent year after year. This is the first in a segment of spotlight articles, highlighting different prospects from powerhouse college teams, and their NFL Draft prosects….

How should we start?

Well. I think Alabama is a good place to begin this spotlight….

Sure-Fire Draft Selections

Quinnen Williams (DT)

Williams is arguably the best player in the draft, measuring in a 6-3 303 and packing an intense punch with each play. A constant disruption in the middle, Williams recorded an astounding 19.5 tackles for loss, with eight sacks, bringing his two year total to 10 sacks and 26 TFL. Williams dominated anyone in front of him, and has a great first step, causing a disruption in the middle, driving those interior linemen backwards.

Draft Stock: Top Five Selection

Jonah Williams (OL)

Despite all that Alabama is known for, many offensive linemen haven’t transitioned well to the NFL (Cam Robinson, Arie Kouandjio, Cyrus Kouandjio). Williams is looking to change that with his excellent power and mobility. Williams works well in both the pass game and run game, however, the only knock is his lack of length, suggesting he’ll likely work better as a right tackle in the power run game. What he lacks in length he makes up for in his mobility and pure brute strength. You won’t find him often knocked off his feet unless he’s plowing a defender into the grass.

Draft Stock: First Round Selection

Josh Jacobs (RB)

Running backs seem to be a rare commodity in today’s pass happy offenses, leaving many young running backs out of the top selections. Like the NFL, college offenses seem to be transition to more of a passing style offense, leaving a small sample size for many hopeful running backs. Jacobs is an unfortunate example. In his three years at Alabama, he’s only toted the rock 251 times for 1,491 yards and 16 touchdowns. The biggest knock on Jacobs is his lack of speed and agility, but he’s a tough, physical runner who has no problem finding the lane. Once he hits the lane he’s tough to bring down. The bright side of his lack of usage is fresher legs leading to a hopefully long and prosperous career.

Draft Stock: Late First Round Selection

Irv Smith Jr. (TE)

Tight End is often a very underrated position, despite having to be one of the more versatile players. Tight ends are expected to inline block, line up along the LOS and run routes, as well as occasionally split out wide, and even line up in the backfield. Having an athletic and versatile tight end can make running a pro-style offense much more successful (See: Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz). Smith showed an ability to get down the field, as he averaged 16.3 YPC in 2018. His blocking isn’t ideal, but he has great hands and is quick off the ball.

Draft Stock: Second Round

Deionte Thompson (S)

Thompson is a prototypical safety, serving well in zone coverage, but lacking in man coverage. He hits well, but his footwork is a mess when playing near the LOS causing him to backpedal. Footwork and discipline can be fixed over time, and with just one year as a starter, Thompson has a lot of room to grow, and can do so given some time in the league. Probably isn’t an instant starter, but can contribute early on in special teams and on third down passing situations.

Draft Stock: Late Second Round

Mack Wilson (LB)

Wilson did not improve much from his second year to his third year, not showing much growth in terms of keeping his discipline and play recognition. Will survive in the NFL based on his size and strength alone. Wilson excels in blitz packages, specifically when he goes on a delay, picking his hole and firing after the quarterback. With some work in discipline, Wilson can become a solid starter in the NFL. For now, his size alone will get him into the league.

Draft Stock: Third Round

Damien Harris (RB)

Despite being ranked lower than Jacobs, Harris has a larger sample size, and better traits when it comes to making it into the NFL. The knock on Harris is his change of direction. He’s a straight forward runner; although he isn’t easy to bring down. His speed and burst is slightly better than Jacobs, and they deliver the same strength necessary in the NFL.

Draft Stock: Second Round

Other Prospects….

Isaiah Buggs (DL) – Draft Stock: 4th Round

Christian Miller (EDGE) – Draft Stock: 5th Round

Ross Pierschbacher (OL) – Draft Stock: 4th Round

Saivion Smith (CB) – Draft Stock: 4th Round

Lester Cotton Sr. (OL) – Draft Stock: Undrafted

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