The deadline for NFL Draft decisions has passed, and we now know which Alabama players are moving on to the next level. Over the last week, the Crimson Tide saw six juniors/redshirt juniors — offensive lineman Evan Neal, linebacker Christian Harris, cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis and wide receivers Jameson Williams, John Metchie III and Slade Bolden — declare for the draft. Alabama also has several notable seniors moving on, including running back Brian Robinson Jr., offensive lineman Chris Owens, defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis, outside linebacker Christopher Allen and cornerback Josh Jobe.
Alabama saw 10 players selected in last year’s draft, including a record-tying six first-round selections. Five of those — Jaylen Waddle (No. 6 overall, Miami Dolphins), Patrick Surtain II (No. 9 overall, Denver Broncos), DeVonta Smith (No. 10 overall, Philadelphia Eagles), Mac Jones (No. 15 overall, New England Patriots) and Alex Leatherwood (No. 17 overall, Las Vegas Raiders) — came within the top 20 picks, while Najee Harris landed No. 24 to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Alabama isn’t poised for the same Day 1 production this year. However, the Crimson Tide should still see several of its players come off the board.
This year’s NFL Draft will take place in Las Vegas from April 28-30. Here’s an early roundup of mock drafts to get a feel of when Alabama players are projected to fall.
Who we used: CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson, Jan. 17), NFL Draft Bible (Zach Patraw, Jan. 17), Pro Football Focus (Austin Gayle, Jan. 17), Pro Football Network 3-round (James Fragoza, Jan. 14), Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer, Jan. 17), Tankathon 3-round (staff, Jan. 17).
Evan Neal, OL
No. 5, New York Giants — CBS
No. 2, Carolina Panthers (Projected trade) — NFL Draft Bible
No. 3, Houston Texans — Pro Football Focus
No. 3, Houston Texans — Pro Football Network
No. 3, Houston Texans — Sporting News
No. 3, Houston Texans — Tankathon
While none of the mock drafts above projected him as the top pick, Neal has a chance at becoming Alabama’s first No. 1 overall selection since Harry Gilmer in 1948. The Jacksonville Jaguars own the first pick in this year’s draft and are in desperate need of some protection for last year’s No. 1 overall selection, Trevor Lawrence. Interestingly enough, Neal would be replacing former Alabama tackle Cam Robinson if the Jaguars were to pounce on him with the top pick
Most mock drafts have Michigan edge rusher Aiden Hutchinson going No. 1 overall. If that’s the case, Neal’s most likely landing spot appears to be at No. 3 with the Houston Texans, who could look to build their offense around the 6-foot-7, 350-pound tackle. It’s hard to see Neal slipping past No. 5 to the Giants, especially with a weak quarterback class this year.
Jameson Williams, WR
No. 18, New Orleans Saints — CBS
No. 29, Kansas City Chiefs — NFL Draft Bible
No. 19, Philadelphia Eagles — Pro Football Focus
No. 19, Philadelphia Eagles — Pro Football Network
No. 18, New Orleans Saints — Sporting News
No. 18, New Orleans Saints — Tankathon
Before tearing his ACL during last week’s national championship game, Williams was projected as a top-10 pick. His injury might have dropped his draft stock a little bit, but the speedy receiver shouldn’t fall too far.
After transferring from Ohio State, Williams broke out at Alabama, finishing as a Biletnikoff finalist while posting a team-high 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns on 79 receptions. The former track star also contributed in the return game where he averaged 35.2 yards on 10 kick returns while returning two for touchdowns.
Philadelphia is a popular destination for Williams as the Eagles have three first-round picks, giving them the luxury of providing Jalen Hurts with a second first-round receiver in as many years. That would set up an Alabama-heavy offense with Hurts delivering passes to Williams and former Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith while Landon Dickerson provides protection on the offensive line.
Williams’ speed should make him a lock for the first round. The lowest he’s projected here is at No. 29 to the Kansas Chiefs. If that happens and he’s able to team up with Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, the rest of the NFL should just quit.
John Metchie III, WR
No. 42, Washington Football Team — Pro Football Network
No. 76, Baltimore Ravens — Tankathon
Metchie’s decision to enter the draft was interesting. On one hand, the junior has established himself as one of the SEC’s top receivers, piling up 151 receptions for 2,058 yards and 14 touchdowns over the past two seasons. On the other, he already was thought of as a fringe first-rounder before tearing his ACL during last month’s SEC Championship Game.
It’s hard to tell if another year at Alabama would have helped Metchie solidify himself as a first-rounder. The biggest concern surrounding the 6-foot, 195-pound receiver is his lack of speed and separation, two things that likely weren’t going to improve much in a year’s time.
Regardless, Metchie has plenty of tools NFL teams will like. He’s a good blocker and has dependable hands as a possession receiver, as evidenced by his team-high 96 receptions this season. That should be enough for him to hear his name called sometime during Day 2 of the draft.
Christian Harris, ILB
No. 57, Cincinnati Bengals— Pro Football Network
No. 53, Las Vegas Raiders — Tankathon
Harris waited until Monday’s deadline to make his decision, ultimately cashing in on his stellar end to the season by declaring for the draft. A three-year starter for Alabama, the inside linebacker ended his Crimson Tide career with his best performance yet, recording three sacks and a forced fumble during the national championship loss to Georgia.
Harris certainly has the athleticism needed for the next level. However, the 6-foot-2, 232-pound defender’s lack of consistency this season will likely cause teams to pass him up in the first round. Of course, that could change if he’s able to post strong numbers during the NFL Combine in March. Regardless, Harris' floor appears to be as a Day 2 selection with his most likely landing spot coming somewhere in the second round.
Phidarian Mathis, DL
No. 63, Atlanta Falcons — Tankathon
No. 102, New Orleans Saints — Pro Football Network
Outside of Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner Will Anderson Jr., Mathis was arguably the most important part of Alabama’s defense last season. The 6-foot-4, 312-pound defensive tackle started last year as one of the SEC’s most underrated defenders but has since seen his draft stock soar after recording nine sacks and 12 tackles for a loss to go with six quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
Along with his on-field production, Mathis also served as one of the biggest voices in the Crimson Tide’s locker room. He was voted a permanent team captain by his teammates and also earned a place on the SEC Community Service Team.
Originally viewed as a late-round selection, Mathis figures to land somewhere on Day 2. Even then, he could be one of the steals of this year’s draft.
Josh Jobe, CB
No. 72, Seattle Seahawks — Tankathon
Entering last season, some projected Jobe as a possible first-round pick. The senior was supposed to step in for departing All-American Patrick Surtain II as Alabama’s lockdown cornerback. However, he suffered a frustrating season that ultimately ended with him missing the Crimson Tide’s playoff run with a toe injury.
Playing injured for much of the season, Jobe allowed completions on 71.4 percent of the balls thrown his way as opposing quarterbacks posted a 109.9 NFL passer rating against him. Despite his inconsistencies, he still managed to record a pair of interceptions and four pass breakups.
Jobe, 6-foot-1, 194 pounds, has the size NFL teams are looking for at the cornerback position. He’s also a physical defender and can move inside to slot cornerback if needed. While he didn’t develop himself into a first-rounder, he could still possibly come off the board on Day 2.
Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB
No. 87, San Fransico 49ers — Pro Football Network
Armour-Davis is unlikely to be selected in the first round. However, that doesn’t mean the starting cornerback was wrong to leave for the next level. After serving as a reserve during his first three years at Alabama, Armour-Davis excelled during his first season as a starter, tying for the team-high with three interceptions while recording four pass breakups. That production, along with his 6-foot-1, 192-pound frame, are bound to open some eyes at the next level.
Despite serving as Alabama’s most reliable cornerback last year, Armour-Davis might not have had the same opportunity this coming season. Rising sophomore Kool-Aid McKinstry is coming off a promising first year while recent LSU transfer Eli Ricks also appears poised to earn a starting spot.
Armour-Davis likely showed enough this past season to warrant a Day 2 selection. If that’s the case, he was wise to capitalize off his big year and begin his professional career.