2020 NFL Draft: Nine players who could be in the next wave of first-round picks from Alabama
Let's examine the 2020 iteration of prospects from the first-round factory that is Alabama football
Like clockwork, Alabama had three players picked in the first round of the draft in April, bringing the grand total to 13 in the past five years. That's bananas.
Starting in 2009 -- which gave Nick Saban time to settle into his throne in Tuscaloosa -- the Crimson Tide have seen 29 players land in Round 1.
While history tells us three more #RollTide studs will be picked in the first round of the 2020 Draft, let's examine all the potential first-round selections from Alabama next year.
(Players ranked in order of likelihood of being a first-round pick in 2020)
Tua Tagovailoa, QB
Tagovailoa heads into the season as my college football history in 2018. on film, but that's nitpicking. I'll be zeroing in on him with great detail here at CBS Sports this season as he looks to build on his historically awesome sophomore campaign., and he's fresh off the most prolific passing efficiency season in
Tagovailoa almost assuredly would've gone in the first round in 2019 and with the majority of his offensive skill position players returning, he's primed for another gargantuan year and significant No. 1 overall pick consideration.
Jerry Jeudy, WR
My No. 4 overall prospect and No. 1 wide receiver at the outset of the 2019 season, Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's finest wideout as a 19-year-old sophomore after accumulating 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. He accounted for 27 percent of the team's receiving-yard total, a solid number for a prospect in his second-to-last collegiate season.
At 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, Jeudy has a somewhat lanky frame but plays with plus explosiveness and long speed along with an elite ability to stop on a dime and change directions, the latter skill being vital not only after the catch but when he needs to create separation on intricate routes.
Jeudy will be part of what looks like best receiving class since the Odell Beckham Jr. headlined group of 2014, so it's not a lock he's the first receiver off the board just yet. But he's certainly in line to be a Top 20 selection if he plays like he did a season ago as Tagovailoa's top target.
Raekwon Davis, DL
At around 6-7 and 312 pounds, Davis is impossible to miss playing on the inside of Alabama's fortress of a defensive line. He has long stretches of dominant run-stopping play when he easily dispatches blockers and uses his large tackling radius to engulf ball carriers near the line of scrimmage.
His sheer power leads to wins as a pass rusher too, but his height hurts him in that respect thanks to a high center of gravity. Also, his pass-rushing maneuvers aren't super refined. However, Davis has now played in 30 games with the Tide, and his lack of hand usage was the clear-cut weakness to his game, so don't be surprised if he's more effective using his long arms to his advantage this season.
If he has developed counter moves, Davis will have a monstrous season and find himself in the first round of the 2020 Draft.
Henry Ruggs, WR
Precisely when you're wowed by Jeudy's speed, Ruggs takes your viewing experience to another level. When the football is in his hands, it feels like you're watching the game in fast forward.
Similarly sized to Jeudy, Ruggs runs by everybody. He averaged 19.1 yards per reception as a true freshman (on 12 catches) then averaged 16.1 yards per grab on 46 catches with 11 touchdowns as a sophomore.
There's some elusiveness to Ruggs' game, but his trump card is his otherworldly jets that must be accounted for every time he steps on the field. Jeudy is more polished right now. Ruggs is more of a dynamic target. I would be stunned if Ruggs runs anything above 4.40 at the combine. He's that fast.
Shyheim Carter, CB
The 6-0, 191-pound junior had two picks and 10 pass breakups in 2018. He's an in-your-face cornerback who's best in press man but isn't lost when sinking in zone.
At times he played safety and rotated down to cover the slot, which represents an important role on any defense at the collegiate or pro level given the proliferation of three or more receiver sets. Blessed with loads of athleticism, Carter has the speed to run with just about every wideout down the field and the twitch to click and close on a comeback route to get his hands on the football.
Also, Carter is a wily, no-nonsense cornerback in run support. He's quick to react to outside runs, can slip through and around blocks, and tackles with authority.
Najee Harris, RB
Harris, not 2019 first-rounder Josh Jacobs, was the most impressive running back I watched in Alabama's backfield a season ago. At 6-2 and 230 pounds, Harris flashed shades of Derrick Henry with smoother agility. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry on 117 rushes after a 6.1 yards-per-carry average as a freshman.
Despite his mammoth size, Harris does not seek out contact. In fact, the first thing I noticed about him was his excellent vision and cutting ability. He can make you miss, will find tiny creases between the tackles, and is apt to stick his foot in the ground and cut against the grain on zone runs with awesome forward lean.
Harris utilizes his size in an efficient way. Instead of lowering his head to run through contact on a consistent basis, his strong leg drive helps him power through diving tackle attempts. With Damien Harris and Jacobs gone, Najee Harris is the clear feature back at Alabama. He's in line for a huge year and won't enter the NFL with a ton of carries. The first round in 2020 is not out of the question for the former No. 1 running back recruit in the country.
Xavier McKinney, S
McKinney is a super-charged athlete on the field, and for a true sophomore, his instincts were tremendous in 2018. That combination led to an impressive 74 tackles -- the third-most on the team -- to go along with 10 pass breakups, three sacks, and two interceptions.
His aggressiveness, range, and tackling savvy pop in every game. As the unquestioned leader of the safety group with Deionte Thompson on to the NFL, I expect the versatile and explosive McKinney to have a monster season and become the latest in a long line of Nick Saban safeties to be picked early in the draft.
Terrell Lewis, EDGE
With Lewis, it's all about untapped promise. In 2017, he suffered a serious arm injury in the season opener against Florida State and was limited to just four games. Lewis had two tackles for loss and one sack on the year. Before the 2018 campaign, Lewis tore a knee ligament and missed the entire season.
Given his extremely small sample size of on-field action -- he played a very limited role as a freshman in 2016 -- Lewis is a projection right now. At 6-5 and 252 pounds with long arms, loose hips, and impressive acceleration off the snap, he's a raw but toolsy type.
With a clean bill of health, Lewis should be Alabama's top edge rusher in 2018 and with more pass-rushing moves, he can rocket up boards this season.
Dylan Moses, LB
Alabama is a factory when it comes to defensive draft prospects, and during the Saban era, five Crimson Tide linebackers have gone in the first round -- Rolando McClain, Dont'a Hightower, C.J. Mosley, Reuben Foster, and Rashaan Evans.
Moses is positioned to be the next first rounder. The former No. 13 overall recruit in the entire country per 247 Sports, Moses has played since his true freshman season in 2017 and was the team's most impactful linebacker a season ago when he tallied 86 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks in 15 games.
He's a bouncy striker, capable of quickly changing directions before laying the lumber on opposing ball carriers.
However, coverage is the most important facet of the game for linebackers in today's NFL, and Moses needs to take a sizable step in that area to lock himself into the first round in 2020. He only has one pick and one pass breakup in his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa.
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