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2023 NFL Draft: Will Anderson Jr. among top Alabama prospects in Nick Saban era

Will Anderson Jr. dominated his first two seasons in Alabama, and the Crimson Tide star finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting last season. The spectacular start to his college career got us thinking where Anderson now ranks among Alabama’s draft prospects during the Nick Saban era (which began in 2007).

Below you will find my top 10 list, including honorable mentions.

Important thing to remember here: This is how these players are generally viewed as prospects, given off-field and maturity issues. Their NFL careers have nothing to do with these rankings. Let’s go!

Honorable Mention: Patrick Surtain II, CB (2021)

Named after his father’s NFL pedigree, starting with the jump, Surtain almost Widely considered ready for an outside cornerback role on a pro team. Now, there are some mistakes in the front cover, which leads to big moves when he can’t find the ball. But everything else, from size to sharp technology at every stage, to effortless speed and three years of high-quality production in the SEC, Surtain is widely regarded as the safest corner to enter the league from Alabama during the Saban era One of the guards.

10. Mark Barron, S (2012)

in the 2012 draft as a latecomer , eventually learning that Barron was the quarterback on Saban’s defense was enough to prove a prospect. That discovery propelled the safety to a meteoric rise to No. 7 in the 2012 draft, ahead of two future Defensive Players of the Year(!) Luke Cuchley and Stephen Gilmore. Barron averaged about 70 tackles and four interceptions per year in Saban’s last three seasons. While he didn’t live up to shockingly lofty expectations in the NFL, Barron did have an adequate, nine-year career and was a safe prospect.

9. Quinnen Williams, DT (2019)

If we see more Williams at Crimson Tide, he Possibly higher on this list because of his time as a full season starter in Saban’s defense unlike anything we’ve seen from Alabama’s long line of dominant defensive linemen. seriously. In 2018, Williams recorded 56 pressures on 344 rushes, which translates to a 16.2 percent pressure generation rate. Williams is also a wall, with a ridiculous 19.5 total tackles in his final college season. The “One Year Miracle” tag is the only negative in Williams’ draft file.

8. Rolando McClain, LB (2010)

McClain’s freshman season coincides with Saban’s 2010 season in Tuscaloosa The first season, and with the help of Crimson Tide’s new defensive planner, McClain soared. His numbers have improved in each of his three seasons, and McLean’s grasp of Saban’s professional defense — yes, that’s one thing! –During the 2010 draft cycle, there were glowing reviews among analysts and NFL decision makers. Additionally, at 6-foot-4 and 249 pounds, McLean looks like part of a classic center linebacker, a frame considered ideal for a secondary guard. McClain’s NFL career has been a wild roller coaster ride, starting with a disappointment in Oakland, retiring before his 23rd birthday, and then reemerging with the Cowboys after a year away from football. Before Dont’a Hightower and CJ Mosley, McLean was the gold standard for Alabama linebacker prospects in the 21st century.

7. Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB (2018)

Fitzpatrick is an all-around safety who played in 2017 It has grown in popularity in the NFL after the season. A five-star recruit, he is expected to have a dizzying career at Alabama and complete nine interceptions — four of which were returned for touchdowns — along with 24 pass interruptions and a total of 19.5 tackles. Spent three seasons with the Crimson Tide. There’s some debate about Fitzpatrick’s place in the NFL — is he a safety or a corner kicker? – which is probably why he didn’t make the top 10. But there was no qualms about him being drafted 11th overall by the Dolphins. All he’s done in the NFL so far is to make the All-Pro first team twice in four seasons.

6. Chance Warmack, OG (2013)

About Warmack During a Slack conversation on the topic, CBS Sports Senior Editorial Director Adi Joseph chimed in: “Thinking he’s going to be what Quenton Nelson looks like. “That absolutely encapsulates what pretty much everyone thought about Vamac during the 2013 draft process. Of course, Nelson went after Wamark, but you know what I mean. Wamark, considered an elite, offensive line-for-back prospect, emphasized checking every box position. He was No. 10 on the Titans but never became a Nelson-esque perennial All Pro.

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5. Marcell Dareus, DT (2011)

Two years of Dareus is what the NFL needs to see to get him the third most incredible first-rounder we’ve ever seen in league history. Immediately after Cam Newton and Von Miller started the 2011 draft, the Bills called up the Dareus draft pick. It has not been criticized. Absolutely not. At Alabama, he had 20 steals and 11 sacks as a 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive tackle. His most famous game came in the national championship game against Texas as a sophomore, when he intercepted a pass and ran it for 28 yards for a touchdown, a display of excellent mobility for his size. Once a first-team All-Pro, Dareus never quite lived up to expectations in Buffalo or Jacksonville, but was seen as a high-floor, high-ceiling defensive tackle prospect.

4. Trent Richardson, RB (2012)

Richardson became the ultimate first-round selection running back (early) Cautionary tale, but let me tell you, back in 2012, in the draft class with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the consensus was that the Browns made the right choice, picking the third overall pick of the rough, super Productivity Richardson. In three seasons at Alabama, Richardson averaged 5.8 yards per carry, 21 touchdowns in his final season, and he averaged more than 11 yards per catch in consecutive seasons. He has a thick lower body and a chiseled upper body that often runs away from SEC defenders. Forget Richardson’s massive NFL failure. He is an amazing prospect.

3. Amari Cooper, WR (2015)

Cooper is one of the cleanest catchers we’ve seen in a long time — not just from Alabama. Cooper ran for over 1,000 yards twice on Tide’s standout offense without a first-round caliber quarterback to throw him into the field. His release package — beating the media at the free throw line — is veteran-level in the NFL. He runs clear, abrupt lines and has a 4.42 pace, very young for a player at his production level. He was 4th in the class of 2015. Cooper, who didn’t turn 21 until the summer before his rookie season, has been one of the league’s most technically sound perimeter players since his rookie season.

2. Will Anderson Jr., EDGE (2023)

I saw Khalil Mack when I was watching Anderson, the No. 1 weakside defensive end in the nation in the high school class of 2020 recruits. There’s Cornelius Bennett-esque’s hype for Anderson as he hits seven sacks and 10.5 tackles on Saban’s defense as a 19-year-old true freshman. Then, he built on that season. In 2021, Anderson has a total of 82 pressures on 482 rushing points, a 17 percent pressure creation rate, which is ridiculous considering the volume he rushes past passers. Anderson looks like an NFL defensive end in the movies, with high-quality power, length, and passing rushing action, and he often sets up strong edges in these games against the run and the hustle, which is up from his 31 appearances. A failed steal (!) proved it at the end of the season. With a strong junior, Anderson is likely to rise to No. 1 on this list.

1. Julio Jones, WR (2011)

Jones was Saban’s first huge recruits to land in Alabama One, it’s a batting recruit. As a freshman in 2008, he had over 900 yards in the season when Glenn Coffee had over 1,300 yards and Mark Ingram over 700 yards on the ground, John Parker-Wilson as his quarterback. Before he broke out as a true junior, he saw a slight dip in his sophomore campaign, when Jones amassed 1,133 yards receiving on the offense of Mark Ingram, Richardson and Eddie Lacey. ball yards. Then the merger happened, and Jones blew the roof of Lucas Oil Stadium. He weighed 6-3 pounds at 220 pounds and ran 4.34 seconds in a 38.5-inch vertical with 6.66 runs in the treble. All of this prompted the Falcons to move from No. 27 overall to No. 6 overall in a trade with the Browns to draft Jones. He has met or exceeded the hype at all stages of his football career. Julio was the best Alabama rookie in the Nick Saban era.



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