NFL Draft 2013: How National Championship Affected Stars' Draft Stock
When you have a national championship performance like the one Alabama had on Monday night, all of the individual pieces can certainly make themselves look good in the eyes of the scouts.
And alternately, when you have a national championship performance like the one Notre Dame had on Monday, you can also impact the way the scouts see you—in the opposite way.
Big or small, here's a look at the impact Alabama's 42-14 beat-down of the Irish had on key players' draft stock.
RB Eddie Lacy
The Alabama running back was the talk of the game on Monday night, and while most prognosticators had him going in the mid-second round prior to the big game, some of them are changing their tune right about now.
Lacy finished the game with 140 yards and a touchdown, shouldering most of the load in the backfield. While being a part of the Crimson Tide's vicious rushing tandem this season may have meant that he shared some of the glory, at times, with TJ Yeldon, the 2013 draft could be his time to shine—as was Monday night's game.
After the performance he had against ND, there may be no better time for Lacy to declare. His production at this point is hard to argue with, he has the size and the athleticism that translates to the NFL and, if he can stay healthy, can be a serious weapon. He may have been a mid-second-rounder before Monday, but now, he could be a low first-rounder/high-second-rounder.
Or he could go back to school, risk injury and try to improve his draft stock further.
LB Manti Te'o
It wasn't Manti Te'o's fault that Notre Dame lost on Monday. The Irish had just never seen a team with such a dynamic offense and staunch defense. But when Notre Dame had given up two touchdowns in the first half of the first quarter—including one on the opening drive, something it hadn't done yet this season—we all wondered whether how that hyped Irish defense had been a little bit overrated all along.
And all season, Te'o was the focal point of that defense. He was equal parts tackling machine and ball hawk, and yet he was relatively quiet on Monday night, finishing the game with 10 tackles and not much else. All in all, his vaunted defense looked confused and gassed from the outset.
But will his performance on Monday night affect his draft stock? Not really. He's still the best linebacker available and showed this season that he is a special player, on and off the field. He has good size and instincts as well as being an excellent tackler. He should still be a high first-round selection.
CB Dee Milliner
In a somewhat unexpected turn of events—at least in the eyes of some—Alabama's defense, not Notre Dame's, was the talk of the game on Monday. The Crimson Tide held the Irish scoreless until midway through the third quarter, and a big part of that was Dee Milliner, who made Everett Golson's life miserable every time he felt like throwing the ball.
Alabama's defense gave up a couple of big passing plays during the course of the game, but for the most part, it kept Notre Dame's passing offense completely out of its element. The Crimson Tide's prized junior defensive back finished with three tackles and two pass deflections—not his gaudiest stat line of the year, but he had an impact.
Already, Milliner is heralded as the top cornerback available and could drastically help a team that needs a boost now. He has good speed and great instincts, and he's a solid guy off the field. Already, he was projected to go in the early-to-mid-first round; he solidified that on Monday.
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