Ranking Brightest NFL Prospects Currently on Alabama Football Roster
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The Alabama Crimson Tide's football team has been laden with NFL talent since head coach Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. But the crop of future stars that will excel at the next level might be at its highest right now.
Quarterback AJ McCarron and C.J. Mosley decided to return for their senior seasons and will face the draft next spring. And there are several underclassmen that will make the leap to the NFL instead of returning to Alabama like McCarron and Mosley.
There's no doubt that the Crimson Tide has a ton of professional potential on its roster, so we waste no time in breaking down which players are the brightest NFL prospects on the 2013-14 Alabama team.
5. AJ McCarron
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The senior quarterback of the Crimson Tide decided to return to Alabama for a chance to do the unthinkable: win a third consecutive national championship. And the ludicrous thought is not out of reach.
McCarron has the tools in place to put together an outstanding senior season to impress NFL scouts. But his resume, to this point, could stand alone to get him drafted.
In his two seasons at the helm of Alabama's offense, he has won two national championships. He has thrown for 5,956 yards, 49 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in his collegiate career, and those totals could soar in his final year in Tuscaloosa. Well, hopefully not the interception total.
He also has the size, at 6'4", 210 pounds, to flourish as a professional signal-caller.
At this point, McCarron won't be the first quarterback to be taken off the board, but he will get his chance to take over a NFL offense or learn under an elite QB.
4. Adrian Hubbard
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Hubbard is the rawest of the Alabama prospects, but he might also have the highest ceiling in terms of untapped potential.
He doesn't have jaw-dropping numbers, but the job he does along the line and at the second level makes him a highly-coveted prospect.
At 6'6" and almost 250 pounds, he is a monster edge-rusher for the Crimson Tide. He uses his speed and length to stretch the line of scrimmage and contain running backs—and scrambling quarterbacks like Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
He needs to add a few pounds in order to be able to put his hand down in 4-3 defenses, but he has already shown he can succeed standing up in Alabama's 3-4 scheme.
As it stands, Hubbard would be taken somewhere in the late first round, early second round if the draft were to occur today.
3. Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Clinton-Dix is a long and rangy safety that isn't afraid to come up and hit somebody.
At 6'1", 209 pounds, he fits the mold of a big, physical safety that NFL teams desperately desire.
He recorded five interceptions in his sophomore season with the Crimson Tide and showed his ability to make plays on the ball in the secondary. With the departure of fellow safety Robert Lester, Clinton-Dix's role will only increase in what should be his last season at Alabama.
He will have to step up and be a vocal leader and example for the younger players in the secondary and that should help him grow and mature as a football player.
Clinton-Dix has a very high ceiling and is regarded as the top safety coming out of the college ranks in 2014.
2. C.J. Mosley
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Mosley is one of the leaders on this Alabama team and an all-round defender for defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
A consensus first team All-American, Mosley possesses the ability NFL scouts want to see out of an inside linebacker; he excels at stopping the run, but has the ability to drop back in coverage and make a play on the ball.
Mosley's name is littered all over mock drafts, and the college football season is still months away. He seems to be a lock to be yet another first-round pick for Alabama, and he has the potential to crack the top 10 choices, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke.
Mosley was the heart of Alabama's defense last year and will continue to be the driving force of excellence on the defensive side of the ball for the Crimson Tide. His commitment to spurn the NFL and return to Tuscaloosa for his senior season shows what type of player and person he is, and any franchise would do well by drafting him.
1. Cyrus Kouandjio
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Kouandjio's size alone would be enough to get him on a NFL roster. At 6'6", 311 pounds, he towers over defenders and imposes his will on pass-rushers. But he is a lean 311 that seems to be all muscle, and he uses his size and strength to bulldoze paths for his running backs.
Kouandjio is considered to be the top offensive line prospect heading into the 2013 season. He only has one full year of starting experience under his belt, but that experience came from being a part of one the best offensive line units in all of college football, a group that helped guide Alabama to its 15th national title.
He is a quiet player that does his job, and does his job well. He already seems to handle his duty as a professional, and one more year under Coach Saban can only help him as he prepares to rise to the next level.
It's difficult to choose which player will be the best pro before the season has even begun, but at the this point, Kouandjio seems to be head and shoulders (literally) above the rest of his teammates.