BCS Championship: 5 Players Who Boosted Their Draft Stock in Title Game

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IIJanuary 10, 2012

BCS Championship: 5 Players Who Boosted Their Draft Stock in Title Game

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    Odds are that if you didn’t watch the BCS National Championship game as an Alabama fan or to scout future NFL talent, you didn’t get much from the game.

    Last night’s game was a field day for NFL draft gurus because there had to be at least 25 or more future NFL players on the field at one time.

    I’m here to focus on five players, all from Alabama, who should be coming out in the 2012 draft. These five guys used a strong championship performance to boost their draft stock come April.

Courtney Upshaw

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    Courtney Upshaw is a ridiculous edge rusher that completely manhandled the LSU offensive line on Monday night.

    On multiple occasions, Upshaw even blew up LSU’s option offense by himself by taking on the quarterback and then the pitchman—something that I know caught the attention of NFL scouts.

    His sideline-to-sideline quickness is fantastic, and he presents a remarkable combination of athleticism and physicality that you want to see in the NFL.

    He won the defensive player of the game award and may have seen his stock rise all the way to top 10 overall potential.

Trent Richardson

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    You may be saying to yourself that Trent Richardson is already heralded as a top NFL prospect, and you’d be correct, but if you look back it’s very rare to see a running back be selected in the top 10 overall.

    Richardson needed a strong showing in the BCS National Championship game to solidify teams' thoughts about what he could be in the NFL.

    He’s a great pass-catcher out of the backfield, physical between the tackles, and we saw him bounce one outside and use his speed to break away for a touchdown.

    Richardson rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on the fifth-best rush defense in college football.

    He’s a better pro prospect than his former teammate and Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram, and teams would be silly not to snag this guy as high as the top five. 

Dre Kirkpatrick

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    Dre Kirkpatrick has had a lot of questions during his time at Alabama, but his 2011-12 season cordially answered pretty much all of them.

    He makes great breaks on the ball and is great at making plays on the football both when it's in the air and when the receiver has it. 

    This draft class is heavy with top cornerback potential, and Kirkpatrick’s play in the BCS National Championship Game may have solidified him as the best of the bunch.

    He was quick off blocks and flew to blow up three or four screen plays in the backfield. Simply put, Kirkpatrick showed us why he’s the best tackling cornerback in all of college football.

    A team desperate for a cornerback would love a player with Kirkpatrick’s skill—possibly a Carolina or a Dallas. 

Robert Lester

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    Robert Lester’s talent on the defensive side of the ball sometimes gets overshadowed by his teammate Mark Barron.

    Lester is only a redshirt junior but he’s already graduated and was using his performance in the national championship game to dictate whether he would test the NFL waters.

    Lester played great on defense for Alabama Monday night. He was quick to the ball by dissecting the plays quickly after the snap, he was present on almost every tackle and covered receivers in the slot when he needed to.

    Mark Barron is the more talented safety of the duo, but if Lester were to declare for the draft, he could see his stock rise all the way into the early portion of the second round. 

Dont'a Hightower

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    There have been questions to whether the junior middle linebacker would enter the draft, but after a strong showing in the title game, I’m sure he’s strongly considering it.

    Dont’a Hightower is a force against the run and is your prototypical power linebacker.

    Along with that, we saw him get after the quarterback on Monday night and even force a fumble straight from LSU QB Jordan Jefferson’s hand.

    Dont’a Hightower is a sure-fire first-rounder and may have seen his stock rise as high to be the No. 1 overall middle linebacker to be taken ahead of Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict.