Alabama Football: Predicting Where Tide Players Will Be Taken in 2013 NFL Draft
Alabama players have done well for themselves lately in past NFL drafts and the upcoming draft in 2013 should be no different. With three players declaring early and a handful entering due to graduation, the Crimson Tide should once again be well represented come April.
Several of these former Alabama players won't have to wait long to hear their name called, as they are locks to go within the first two rounds. There are some guys that will have to wait, but majority of the players that played college ball in Tuscaloosa will be picked up at some point within the first seven rounds.
These players have been on NFL draft boards for months and we will soon find out which team they will play for professionally.
Here are the predictions for all of the Crimson Tide players who will turn pro in the 2013 NFL draft.
Michael Williams, TE
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What He Brings to the Table: Michael Williams is an old-school tight end, as he wasn't used much to go out and catch passes, but he was one of the best blocking tight ends in college football. With his size at 6'6", 269 pounds, Williams has a bulky frame that matches up well against any defensive end you can find at the next level. Not much of a receiver, but he does have enough athleticism and quickness to produce in the passing game as well.
Where He Will Be Selected: Sixth Round (Williams may have to wait a while to hear his name called, but he should have a productive career on an NFL roster)
Teams That May Bite: Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets
Robert Lester, S
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What He Brings to the Table: Robert Lester is a playmaker at the safety position. He reacts to the ball well and has excellent ball skills, which helped him snag 14 interceptions in his career at Alabama. The concerns with Lester are that he isn't consistent in the tackling department and he is a bit on the smaller side at 6'1", 212 pounds. However, his ball-hawking skills will allow him to get drafted in the middle rounds and he could develop into a solid player over time.
Where He Will Be Selected: Fourth Round (Lester could be one of the biggest steals in this draft)
Teams That May Bite: San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints
Nico Johnson, LB
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What He Brings to the Table: Nico Johnson is solid against the run. He moves well to the ball, has good instincts and he is about as sure of a tackler as you are going to find. The problem is that he isn't an athletic player and he struggles to make plays from sideline-to-sideline. He doesn't cover a lot of ground and this creates issues when he is asked to drop back in coverage. Johnson is more of a situational linebacker and could an effective special teams player immediately.
Where He Will Be Selected: Fourth Round (Unless a team believes Johnson can be an every-down starter, his stock isn't that high)
Teams That May Bite: Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos
Barrett Jones, C
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What He Brings to the Table: The reason Barrett Jones is so high on draft boards is because of his versatility. It is not every day when you find a player that can play tackle, guard or the center position at a high level. Jones is strong at the point of attack in run blocking and has displayed quick feet in pass protection. Overall, he is a smart player who can help out in many different ways. He provides value with his selection, and that is what the draft is all about at the end of the day.
Where He Will Be Selected: Second Round (Unless a team really feels that strongly about Jones, he will be picked during day two)
Teams That May Bite: Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles
Eddie Lacy, RB
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What He Brings to the Table: Eddie Lacy is your typical physical Alabama running back that is going to break arm tackles and pickup extra yards after contact. He is a downhill runner who likes to get north and south, and while it may seem like he is only a power back, he has surprisingly underrated athleticism. He has a bit of quickness to his game and has shown he can make defenders miss in the open field. When healthy and motivated, Lacy is a dominant runner who can be extremely effective at the next level.
Where He Will Be Selected: Second Round (Unless you are an elite running back, this position won't see many first-round selections)
Teams That May Bite: Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions
D.J. Fluker, OT
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What He Brings to the Table: D.J. Fluker has a nice combination of size and power at 6'5", 355 pounds. He is extremely physical at the point of attack and it is hard to break free once he is locked in on you. He has a bit of a mean streak that you like to see from the position, and despite his great size, he is quite athletic for somebody so big. You would like to see him improve in pass protection, but that's just about the only weakness with this young man.
Where He Will Be Selected: Second Round (Fluker could sneak into the late part of the first round, but there aren't many teams that will reach on Day 1 of the draft)
Teams That May Bite: New York Jets, Carolina Panthers and New York Giants
Jesse Williams, DT
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What He Brings to the Table: With a build at 6'4", 320 pounds, there aren't many times when Jesse Williams isn't occupied by two offensive linemen. Not the most athletic defensive lineman in the draft, but he is a rare defensive tackle that is effective against the run and pass. He does a good job of setting the edge and can collapse the pocket like nobody's business. He also has a lot of upside considering he is new to the game of football, having grown up in Australia.
Where He Will Be Selected: Second Round (Williams will slip into the second round due to the overwhelming depth at the defensive tackle position)
Teams That May Bite: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys
Dee Milliner, CB
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What He Brings to the Table: Dee Milliner is the physical corner that wants to jam guys at the line of scrimmage and knock receivers off their routes. He isn't the fastest corner in the world, but he makes up for it with incredible ball skills, as he does a good job of locating the ball and knocking it away. Milliner is built well at 6'1" and is also a factor in playing against the run. Overall, he is just a tough-nosed player who will instantly help out a questionable secondary.
Where He Will Be Selected: First Round (Without question the best cornerback in this draft)
Teams That May Bite: Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns
Chance Warmack, OG
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What He Brings to the Table: Chance Warmack may be the best run-blocker college football has seen in the last five years or so. With his massive build at 6'3", 320 pounds, he explodes off the ball and simply powers his way through defenders to open up running lanes for his team. Warmack is decent in pass protection and displays good awareness, but a team that will draft him is looking to help improve its running game for the next 10 years.
Where He Will Be Selected: First Round (Offensive linemen like this don't exactly grow on trees)
Teams That May Bite: Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets