Early Look at When Alabama Crimson Tide Players will go in 2021 NFL Draft

Not only will Alabama have numerous first-round selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Crimson Tide is poised to challenge the record
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It looks like the 2021 NFL Draft will be a typical one for Alabama football under Nick Saban, which means that like so many other things the Crimson Tide will dominate. 

In each of the last four years, Alabama has had double-digit selections if you include Jalen Hurts in 2019 (and why not, he played three years for the Crimson Tide and got his degree). That streak will likely continue. 

The thing to watch this year is the number of first-round selections. The national champions could set or tie the NFL record. 

Over and over again, the Crimson Tide has been close, with four first-rounders in 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2020 (can you believe there were only three in 2019?). 

This year it could finally match Miami's six first-round selections in 2004 (Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow Jr., Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Willams, Vernon Carey and Vince Wilfork).

In addition to the Crimson Tide acquiring the greatest hardware collection college football has ever seen, there's also plenty of game film of all the players. Alabama got through a grueling 10-game SEC schedule, and then faced Florida in the SEC Championship, Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl semifinal and Ohio State in the National Championship Game. 

Scouts can do a lot of comparisons of how they did against other players in the draft, plus there's no questions about durability or how they might hold up through the grind of an NFL season. 

With the combine cancelled, making the on-campus Pro Days absolutely crucial this year, a lot of NFL teams will simply start their draft evaluation process with Alabama since it has a top player at nearly every position. 

Here's what we're hearing about where the Crimson Tide players stand heading into the Senior Bowl in Mobile next week: 

Christian Barmore

Defensive lineman 

Barmore's stock is going to rise when teams have a good opportunity to study his game film, because at times he was absolutely dominating. He was slowed by a preseason knee injury, but got better as the season progressed. He finished with 37 tackles, including a team-high eight sacks that were second in the SEC. It's a shame Alabama fans didn't get to see a fully-healthy Barmore during his final season.  

Projection: First round 

Deonte Brown 

Guard

Alabama fans have loved watching Brown when he really gets a hold of a defender and just pummels him, but that won't happen as often at the next level. "Cornbread" played 757 snaps last season and missed only two assignments while committing four penalties. Lack of versatility will cause his stock to drop and he'll need to play in a power scheme since Brown's he's not the most athletic lineman. 

Projection: Fifth round 

Landon Dickerson 

Offensive lineman 

He's the kind of guy you love on your team and hate on the other side. Dickerson won the Rimington Award as the nation's best center and was a unanimous All-American. He could play nearly anywhere on a line and has a quick first step. Dickerson's power was good last year, but he even got better during the 2020 season. The two knocks on him will be limited mobility and his history of knee injuries. If he recovers well from his latest setback he might squeeze into the first round.  

Projection: First/second round 

Thomas Fletcher 

Long-snapper 

If you're wondering why a long-snapper is listed here, check out the last few drafts. LSU's Blake Ferguson was a sixth-round pick last year, Austin Cutting of Air Force was drafted in 2019, and Mississippi State's Hunter Bradley in 2018. Fletcher was perfect on all snapping duties during all four of his seasons at Alabama, and was proclaimed a first team All-American by Rubio Long Snapping (as the major services don't pick anyone at the position). Check out the following video, which is really funny, and take note of the zip of the ball on his snaps: 

Projection: Sixth round 

Najee Harris 

Running back 

A year ago, Harris was known as a football player who, to use a baseball analogy, was always swinging for the fences. He was also trying to get a home run, and kept bouncing his inside runs to the outside. This season he because an interior running who could play the power game as well as anyone. The Doak Walker winner is Alabama's all-time leading rusher, but what NFL teams will be more impressed with is that he can do everything well — catch the ball, block, pick up receivers, etc. — which is rare. 

Projection: First/second round 

Mac Jones 

Quarterback 

The more teams study Jones the more they're going to like him because of his decision-making and ability to hit receivers downfield. He's Alabama's all-time single-season passing leader with 4,500 yards, which led the nation, and set the NCAA record for passing efficiency at 203.06, topping Joe Burrow's record last year. He did everything everything asked of him and more after playing in the shadow of Tagovailoa. Critics will claim he didn't have the same wow factor as Burrow or Tagovailoa (Alabama didn't have that many comebacks while destroying so many opponents), but he could be a perfect addition for a team like New England. 

Projection: First round 

Alex Leatherwood 

Offensive lineman 

A lot of Alabama fans will find it surprising that Leatherwood isn't considered a surefire first-round selection, but he's one of the players who will be closely watched at the Senior Bowl. The Outland Trophy winner as the best interior lineman in college football, and unanimous All-American, has the necessary size and quickness teams covet, but they have to decide if they consider him a better tackle or guard prospect. Leatherwood's versatility will help his chances for having a long career, but this will be a big week in determining if he's a bonafide first-round talent. 

Projection: First/second round 

Dylan Moses 

Linebacker 

The expectations for this past season were probably unfairly high for Moses after he missed the 2019 season due to a knee injury. He still led the Crimson Tide in tackles with 80 while serving as the defensive captain at middle linebacker. Alabama also finished first in the SEC in total defense, as the unit as a whole kept improving. Don't overlook him, because NFL teams won't. 

Projection: Second round 

DeVonta Smith 

Wide receiver 

The knock on him a year ago was that he was too skinny and didn't have enough bulk. No one's going to say it's much of an issue after the Slim Reaper won the Heisman Trophy and all of his other awards. The only question regarding Smith is if he goes in the first five picks, or is among the second five.  

Projection: High first round

Patrick Surtain II 

Cornerback 

He's the best player at a position in which every team always needs help. The cornerback has size, speed, a knack for making big plays and his father played 11 seasons in the NFL for the Dolphins and Chiefs. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the AP and the league's coaches will not be around long in the draft. 

Projection: High first round

Jaylen Waddle

Wide receiver

Because of players like Waddle, Alabama was a threat to score a touchdown on any given snap, regardless of the down and distance. He averaged 18.9 yards per catch for his career to rank second in school history, and Waddle had three of Alabama's five longest scoring receptions. Oh, and he was also the best punt returner in college football before suffering a fractured ankle injury at Tennessee. 

Projection: First round 

Others to keep an eye on: Miller Forristall, Joshua McMillon, Carl Tucker