The NFL Team That Drafts Alabama lineman Landon Dickerson Just Might Do Cartwheels

The All-American center is clearly a first-round talent and the kind of player every team covets. So when might Landon Dickerson get selected?
Author:
Publish date:

The man was doing cartwheels just a couple of months after having surgery to repair a torn ACL.

And not just one cartwheel or a couple. We're talking a whole succession of them just to try and crack former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones up while doing a a live television interview following one of his pro day workouts.

It may have caused his agent and everyone on the Crimson Tide medical team to have a minor mental equivalent of a heart attack, but it worked. The player nicknamed Joker did laugh. 

It also demonstrated why Landon Dickerson was such a popular teammate on the national champions. 

It's a moment that anyone watching will never forget. But former coach Jim Mora Jr. points to another one as being a better indicator of what kind of person and player Dickerson was for the Crimson Tide. 

It's the National Championship Game. 

Alabama votes on permanent team captains at the end of the regular season, which for 2020 were Dickerson, Mac Jones, Alex Leatherwood and DeVonta Smith. For the coin flip, though, Dickerson was the only one at midfield, in full uniform despite having suffered a torn ACL during the SEC Championship Game. 

While it was extremely unusual for the Crimson Tide not to have a defensive player named a captain, sending Dickerson out alone was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of moment.  

"Nick Saban did something that Nick Saban doesn’t do very often, and that’s put an individual in the spotlight," Mora said. 

"To me that speaks volumes about what kind of man Landon is. You’re talking about a great character athlete in your locker room."

Something that often gets overlooked about Saban is the emphasis he puts on the center position. While Alabama is known for its linebackers and running backs especially, in addition to the wide receivers, defensive backs and now quarterbacks, having a top-notch player snap the ball is one of the secrets to his success. 

When Saban was at LSU, Ben Wilkerson was a co-winner of the Rimington Award for the most outstanding center. 

In 2012, Barrett Jones, who had won the Outland Trophy the previous season as a left tackle, was Alabama's first winner of the Rimington. Ryan Kelly won in 2015, and Dickerson in 2020. 

"The center is typically the captain of your offensive line, and that’s always such a close-knit group," Mora continued. "When you have someone with a Landon Dickerson-type personality leading your group, it brings everyone closer together and makes everyone better. He has all the intangibles you’re looking for in a player, and especially in an offensive lineman."

In addition to Outland and Rimington awards, Jones won the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is considered the academic Heisman Trophy of college football. Dickerson was Alabama's nominee last season while in grad school. 

The two times Alabama has won the Joe Moore Award for best offensive line in college football, it had a Rimington winer at center, 2015 and 2020. 

When Dickerson won his during a virtual ceremony, he had everyone on the offense accept it with him.  

"Great leader," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. "Great intensity. Nick Saban speaks to that, what he was doing in the National Championship Game. He's just a great teammate."

Kiper was referring to Saban letting Dickerson make the final snap of the season in the Crimson Tide's victory formation. 

Ask any draft expert about Dickerson as a prospect and they'll all say something along the lines of he'd be a slam-dunk first-rounder without the injury concerns. Even coming off surgery he's still considered the best interior lineman in the draft.  

"Dickerson's played all five positions, which teams love that type of personality," Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network said. "His tape was definitely first-round worthy, and all the intangibles of intelligence, leadership and toughness are off the charts. 

"It just comes down to durability." 

Sports Illustrated

Conor Orr from MMQB did his second mock draft and had a trade directly impacting two Crimson Tide players near the top of the first round:

4. Denver Broncos (via projected trade with the Falcons): Mac Jones

9. Atlanta Falcons (via projected trade with the Broncos): Patrick Surtain II

12. Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

16. Arizona Cardinals: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

ESPN 

Kiper did his first two-round mock draft: 

First round 

3. Mac Jones, 49ers ("It's hard to ignore the Jones-to-San Francisco buzz within the league.")

8. DeVonta Smith, Panthers

11. Jaylen Waddle, Giants

12. Patrick Surtain II, Eagles

24. Najee Harris, Steelers

32. Christian Barmore, Buccaneers

Second round 

39. Landon Dickerson, Panthers

NFL Draft Bible

Positional rankings

QB | RB | FB | WR | iWR | TE | LT | RT | OG | OC | DT | NG | 3-4 DE | 4-3 DE | 3-4 OLB | 4-3 OLB | ILB | CB | iCB | FS | SS

2021 Draft Order

  1. Jacksonville (1-15)
  2. NY Jets (2-14)
  3. San Francisco from Miami via Houston (4-12)
  4. Atlanta (4-12)
  5. Cincinnati (4-11-1)
  6. Miami from Philadelphia (4-11-1)
  7. Detroit (5-11)
  8. Carolina (5-11)
  9. Denver (5-11)
  10. Dallas (6-10)
  11. NY Giants (6-10)
  12. Philadelphia from Miami via San Francisco (6-10)
  13. LA Chargers (7-9)
  14. Minnesota (7-9)
  15. New England (7-9)
  16. Arizona (8-8)
  17. Las Vegas (8-8)
  18. Miami (10-6)
  19. Washington (7-9)
  20. Chicago (8-8)
  21. Indianapolis (11-5)
  22. Tennessee (11-5)
  23. NY Jets from Seattle* (12-4)
  24. Pittsburgh (12-4)
  25. Jacksonville from LA Rams* (10-6)
  26. Cleveland (11-5)
  27. Baltimore (11-5)
  28. New Orleans (12-4)
  29. Green Bay (13-3)
  30. Buffalo (13-3)
  31. Kansas City (14-2)
  32. Tampa Bay (11-5)