One of the biggest question marks regarding the Alabama players in the 2021 NFL Draft is linebacker Dylan Moses, who missed the entire 2019 season with an injury and played nearly all of 2020 in pain.
Moses recently disclosed that had had suffered a torn meniscus while making 13 tackles against Ole Miss during Week 3 of the Crimson Tide's title season (Oct. 3), and wasn't diagnosed until more than three months later after the National Championship Game.
Moses didn't have corrective surgery until February, which sidelined him for all pre-draft workouts.
"It was said it was a bone bruise, but it kept bothering me throughout the year and I just never really spoke up about it," Moses said.
"I'm the type of person that, if I'm in pain or something, I never want to leave the field, so I just didn't say anything about it."
He still was named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association.
"I do think it affected his performance a little bit," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "But I think it speaks volumes about his character."
But Moses still has a strong reputation, was a Butkus Award finalist in 2018, and all indications are that he feels better and the knee is good to go. Unless he gets red-flagged during what would have been the combine medical re-checks, the linebacker could be poised to have a long NFL career.
"It seems like he’s been at Alabama forever," Sports Illustrated analyst Jim Mora Jr. said. "You turn on the tape, or you turn on the game, and go ‘God, there’s No. 32 again. Didn’t he graduate? Isn’t he playing in the NFL somewhere?
"So he’s been a productive player for so long I think sometimes you take a guy like that for granted, maybe. Certainly knee injury was a real setback, but this is a football-savvy player. This is a guy who has been productive his whole career. He’s had success his whole career. I’m talking about high school and college. This is a guy who is a good signal-caller. A tremendously gifted athlete."
Hometown: Alexandria, La.
• Named a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, third team by the Associated Press.
• First-team All-SEC (coaches).
• As a senior, led Alabama in total tackles with 80, including 6.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. Was also credited with three pass breakups, a forced fumble and one interception as a senior.
• In 2018, was named second-team All-American by Walter Camp in 2018, and a finalist for the Butkus Award.
• Named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2017.
What they said ...
Zierlein, NFL.com: Like many former Alabama linebackers, Moses combines speed, agility and an above-average understanding of technique and fundamentals. However, his play is also marked by the same mechanical, robotic feel that we've seen from many Alabama linebackers in the past. He has sideline-to-sideline range but also does his job when asked to stick his nose into a block and spill the action wide. His willingness to take chances with a playmaking angle to the football is a little inconsistent, though. While he's an excellent open-field tackler, he tends to play the position like a safety rather than a field alpha looking to hunt. Moses isn't a thumper and has average field recognition and might be better suited as a run-and-chase 4-3 outside linebacker. If he can consistently play confident, attacking football, he has a chance to become a quality starter.
SI analyst Jim Mora Jr.: "I think he’s a guy who in 10 years we’re going to look up and go ‘That Dylan Moses is still playing in the NFL? Darn, I thought he retired years ago,'" Mora said. "He’s just one of those guys. He’s a ball player, you know? I love guys like that. You want them on your roster."
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: "Obviously you noticed him when he was younger, before the injuries, and you get excited about him," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "But when I went back and watched him this year, he’s a good player, I like the energy he plays with, I still think his eyes work really well. I thought he struggled some in coverage and I thought he struggled to get off blocks."
Draft projection: Second or third round.
This is the fourth in a series of Crimson Tide profiles for the 2021 NFL Draft