NFL Draft Projections for Alabama's Most Dominant Players
Alabama won its second national championship in as many years on Monday, and this team is loaded with NFL talent.
Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack, Jesse Williams, Barrett Jones—these are just a few dominant players who are projected to be taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
And we didn't even mention Eddie Lacy, Robert Lester or Nico Johnson.
Yep. Alabama pumps out NFL-ready talent on a yearly basis. With this in mind, let's take a look at where each of the team's most dominant players are likely to be picked in the upcoming NFL draft.
Dee Milliner, Cornerback
Dee Milliner locked down Tyler Eifert and the No. 1 ranking for cornerbacks in this year's draft class with a stellar performance in the BCS title game against Notre Dame on Monday.
Milliner is physical enough to handle big receivers and quick enough to hang with speedsters. He uses his body well without getting into trouble with penalties, has excellent hands and is a willing, able tackler.
The junior cornerback is currently mulling over the decision to go pro or stay in school, according to AL.com's Andrew Gribble.
Draft Projection: Top 10 pick, should he enter the draft.
Chance Warmack, Guard
Senior Chance Warmack is easily this year's top-rated guard, and the way he dominated Manti Te'o and the rest of the Notre Dame defense in the BCS title game only further improved his already sky-high draft stock.
Blessed with superior strength, physicality, sheer size and a motor that never quits, Warmack also brings excellent technique and a nasty attitude to whichever team drafts him this April.
Draft Projection: Top 15 pick.
Jesse Williams, Nose Tackle
Senior nose tackle Jesse Williams is the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in this year's draft class.
Blessed with power, agility and an indomitable will to compete and win, Williams will be highly valuable to teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets—teams with 3-4 defenses in need of a run-stuffing nose tackle.
Williams isn't a flashy player, and he isn't likely to put up jaw-dropping numbers at the NFL scouting combine this spring, but he's going to be a first-round pick.
Draft Projection: Top 20 pick.
Barrett Jones, Center/Guard
Senior center Barrett Jones is a player who will be a valuable commodity in the NFL. Not only is he an excellent center/guard prospect, but he's played all five positions on the line during his time with Alabama.
His diversity is something NFL teams are desperate for, and the fact that he played in the BCS title game with a serious Lisfranc injury proves that he's as tough as they come.
Draft Projection: Late-first round.
Eddie Lacy, Running Back
Eddie Lacy's stock has gone up significantly over the course of the past couple of months, and his performance at the BCS title game against Manti Te'o and the vaunted Notre Dame defense only further solidified his status as a legitimate NFL-caliber running back.
Blessed with phenomenal vision, superb strength and power, a wide variety of elusive moves in the open field, an explosive first step and enough speed to blow past many linebackers, Lacy will be one of the first—if not the first—running back to be taken in 2013.
According to AL.com's Andrew Gribble, Lacy is still deciding whether to come back for his senior season or go pro. I'm betting on the latter.
Draft Projection: Top 40 pick.
D.J. Fluker, Offensive Tackle
D.J. Fluker projects as a right tackle at the next level.
He's far more adept at mauling in the running game than he is on the edge as a pass-protector. He possesses elite-level size and power, but his ability to slide-step and move laterally isn't at the same level.
That said, he's likely going to go early in Day 2 of the 2013 NFL draft, should he declare. According to the AP's John Zenor, Fluker is expected to announce his intentions on Wednesday, January 9.
Draft Projection: Top 60 pick.
Robert Lester, Safety
Alabama didn't lose much when Mark Barron left the program a year ago to take his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Senior safety Robert Lester stepped right in and became the leader of the secondary. He is a highly effective run defender who is also a capable center fielder. He tallied four interceptions in 2012 and has complied 14 throughout his last three seasons.
Lester is also capable of providing pressure off the edge as a blitzer, and he'll be a welcome addition to a team in need of a talented safety.
Draft Projection: Late-second-round pick.
Nico Johnson, Linebacker
Senior Nico Johnson isn't as well-known as C.J. Mosley, but he will be a good pro player.
Johnson doesn't possess elite speed or athleticism, though, so he'll likely fall into the middle or late rounds of the 2013 NFL draft. That doesn't mean he'll be an average player at the next level, though.
Johnson will be a perfect fit as a 3-4 inside linebacker. He is a thumper who isn't afraid to get nasty with the big boys on the offensive line, and he'll be a physical presence in the middle of any defense lucky enough to draft him.
Draft Projection: Fourth-fifth round.
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