Nick Saban has built Alabama into a football factory and every year the Crimson Tide are always represented in the NFL Draft. This year there are nine Bama players headed to the Combine in Indianapolis all of which are projected to be drafted. We decided to rank the top ten Alabama players in the 2016 NFL Draft, nine of which are thought to be drafted.
Here we go.
10. Jake Coker QB Projected 7th round pick/Undrafted Free Agent
Coker isn’t a gunslinger. He’s a game manager similar to AJ McCarron who will keep you in the game and occasionally make a big play with his arms or leg when the team needs it. At Alabama it wasn’t hard to line up under center when your job is to hand off to Derrick Henry but Coker showed in the National Championship Game against Clemson that he could be called on to make plays when the game was on the line and deliver. Of all the player in our top ten list Coker is the only one who will not participate in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
9. DJ Pettway DE Projected to be 6th round pick
Pettway had a big game against Clemson in the National Championship game in January. He blocked a field goal and knocked down two passes. He’s a hybrid defensive end who can play linebacker. The big defensive end is not going to start in week one for an NFL team but he can be an effective backup and make plays when he’s called upon. Pettway is a guy who may need a year or two to get antiquated with the NFL before he’s ready to take over as a starter.
8. Dominick Jackson OT Projected 6th round pick
Jackson was a big part of the offensive line that opened up running lanes for Derrick Henry all year. He finished last season as second team All-SEC and looked dominant against Michigan State in the College Football Playoffs. However, the big lineman didn’t have a great showing against Clemson last month getting dominated by defensive end Kevin Dodd. Jackson earned a Combine invite and will get a chance to show NFL scouts what he can do.
7. Cyrus Jones DB Projected 5th round pick
Jones showed he could play defensive back in the SEC and wasn’t scared to come up and defend against the run. The Crimson Tide DB was also a dynamic punt returner in Tuscaloosa led the nation in returning kicks for touchdowns. There are some concerns about his height (5’9) and a run in with the law last year may scare some teams away. Jones will earn a spot on an NFL roster and return kicks and be a backup in the secondary.
6. Kenyan Drake RB Projected to be 4th round pick
Drake was an afterthought in the Alabama offense behind Derrick Henry but showed flashes of what he could do when his number was called. The Crimson Tide running back also has great hands and can be a weapon out of the backfield as a receiver. He has some questions to answer about being able to stay healthy but he could be a steal in the mid rounds of the draft.
5. Ryan Kelly C Projected 3rd round pick
Kelly is arguably the best center in the 2016 NFL Draft and is a monster against the run. At 6’5 295 pounds he has good size and could have a chance to contribute right away in the NFL.
4. Derrick Henry RB Projected 2nd round pick
Usually Heisman trophy winners are a lock to go in the first round. This year Henry is projected to go somewhere in the early second round. With so many top notch defensive ends in this years draft he will slip where he would normally go a little higher. In the right situation Henry can be an effective NFL back with his downhill running style. If he is stuck behind a bad offensive line and he has to rely on juking and jiving to get open Henry could have a hard time in the league.
3. Jarran Reed DT Projected 1st round pick
Reed is arguable the best run stuffer in the draft. He and A’Shawn Robinson were dominant all year long making the Crimson Tide defensive line the best in the country. Reed can play nose tackle or defensive end in the NFL at 6’3 310 pounds. He displayed great speed and athleticism in the National Championship Game running DeShaun Watson down on a two point conversion. Reed will go in the first round.
2. Reggie Ragland LB Projected 1st round pick
Ragland is a hard nose football player who has a knack for being where the ball is. Last season he had 102 tackles for the Tide and was All-American. Some question his speed but you can’t question his heart. He reminds us of former Saints/Panthers Sam Mills who was always in the middle of a play. Ragland will contribute right away for whoever picks him up in the draft.
1. A’Shawn Robinson DE Projected 1st round pick
At 6’4 320 pounds Robinson is a beast up front. It’s thought that the Bama defensive end could be a top ten pick in the NFL Draft. He is a run-stuffer but can also get into the backfield and cause problems for the QB. Robison was All-American in 2015 and a finalist for the Outland Trophy. It’s thought that he will be a starter in week one for an NFL franchise in 2016.