Best NFL Fits for Tide’s Top Prospects
Every year when the NFL Draft rolls around, first round buzz surrounds the Alabama program. This season is no exception. Top draft analysts, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, both project six Alabama players to be taken in the first round, which would tie the all time record set by Miami in 2004, and break the SEC record of five. Whether or not all six prospects will actually be taken in the first round is yet to be seen, but these are the best fits for each player.
DeVonta Smith, Miami Dolphins 3rd overall
DeVonta Smith needs no introduction. The Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver is arguably the best in the class, and going to Miami to join his former quarterback would be an excellent fit. As of now, Tagovailoa remains the guy in Miami for 2021, and picking up Smith would undoubtedly help the young quarterback.
The Dolphins need weapons for Tagovailoa and Smith would be an excellent start. Adding Smith into the receiving core would take some weight off of last season's top receiver, DeVante Parker, and allow their young quarterback more options to distribute the ball. Alongside giving Tagovailoa more confidence in his receivers, having top tier targets would have a similar effect on the coaching staff with their young quarterback, who they heavily limited with play calling his in his rookie season.
Jaylen Waddle, Philadelphia Eagles 6th overall
Another Alabama receiver reunited with a former Alabama quarterback. While Jalen Hurts was never the starter at Alabama in Waddle's time there, the chemistry of the former teammates would be undeniable. Waddle, another top receiver in the class, is coming off an ankle injury that sidelined him for most of the 2020 season until he was able to return for the National Championship game and provide limited playing time.
With enough time for Waddle to return to 100% healthy, the Eagles would be a great fit. Philadelphia has neglected the receiver position in recent years, but with a young quarterback in Jalen Hurts, they need to be looking to bolster the position. Waddle could provide an excellent slot target for Jalen Hurts who has shown struggles with the intermediate and deep passing game in the past.
Patrick Surtain II, Dallas Cowboys 10th overall
The Dallas Cowboys have lacked any sort of lockdown corner for years, and Surtain could be that guy for them. Surtain has been the top corner in this year's class for some time now, and could provide day one impact for the Cowboys. Not to mention, the Cowboys spent a second round pick on former Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs in 2020 and after a strong rookie year, Dallas should look to reunite the pair that formed a dynamic duo in their time at Alabama.
Mac Jones, New England Patriots 15th overall
Mac Jones to New England just seems right on paper. Jones has shown so many characteristics similar to Tom Brady in his extreme accuracy and game awareness, that he could truly thrive in a Belichick system.
With the Patriots outlook for 2021 at the quarterback position looking shaky at best, it may be time we see the Patriots go after a quarterback in the first round. Jones is a dynamic passer that makes up for a slight lack in arm strength with pinpoint accuracy, very similarly to a former Patriots quarterback we know pretty well. If the Patriots want a skillset similar to what they had in Brady, look no further than Mac Jones.
Christian Barmore, Tennessee Titans 22nd overall
While Barmore may find his name being called closer to the end of the first round, the fit here is undeniable. The Tennessee Titans posted one of the NFL's worst run defenses in 2020, allowing almost 130 yards per game, and finished the season allowing close to 200 rushing yards per game in its final three outings. Barmore could provide depth to a struggling defensive front, and be an immediate impact player. With the players like DaQuan Jones coming into a contract year and the departure of Jurrell Casey, the Titans are potentially in the market for help up front on defense and Barmore would make an excellent addition to the rotation.
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers 28th overall
The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled mightily in the run game in 2020, finishing last in the NFL averaging under 100 yards per game. James Connor is obviously not going to be the answer in Pittsburgh, so in steps Najee Harris. Harris came away with a record breaking career at Alabama, and has shown elite running back traits along the way. Harris' blend of size and speed make him a very similar prospect to arguably the NFL's top running back Derrick Henry. His ability to catch and make moves in the open field is something that could play very well into the Steelers system who last saw success out of the position with Le'Veon Bell who is a great receiving back.
2021 Alabama Crimson Tide Record Book