The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers will be playing in the Iron Bowl in what will be arguably the biggest game this week in college football, but it will also be a great time to check out some of the biggest NFL prospects before the regular season ends.
As the No. 1 team in the BCS rankings, the Crimson Tide have been considered the best team in the nation for the entire year. Meanwhile, the Tigers rank No. 4, losing just one game this season, and are looking to pull off the huge upset.
SEC teams tend to have some of the best pro prospects each year, and 2013 is certainly no exception. Let's take a look at some of the top NFL prospects in this game, breaking them down and projecting which round they could wind up being selected in come May.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
There are few top-tier safeties in this year's draft, but by far the best of them in 2013 has to be Ha Ha Clinton-Dix coming out of Alabama.
Last season, Clinton-Dix had five interceptions, which was tied for the most in the SEC while becoming one of the most well-known players on defense. This season, he's missed a couple of games due to a suspension and has just one interception, but his presence has certainly been felt when on the field.
What makes Clinton-Dix the best safety in this year's draft is his terrific football instincts and his all-around terrific play. He does a great job reading the eyes of the quarterbacks and is quick enough to close in on opposing receivers.
Clinton-Dix also does a very good job stopping the run near the line of scrimmage, showing off his versatility. He's not always the best tackler, but he's ready to be a starter the day he gets drafted, making him a great first-round choice for a team like the Green Bay Packers.
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
While Tre Mason has been one of the most productive running backs in the SEC, he's still a rather underrated NFL prospect.
With 208 carries this season, Mason has run for 1,153 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He's been on fire over the past three games, putting up 400 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
While only 5'10'', Mason is a surprisingly strong and physical downhill runner. He does a great job finding his hole and not hesitating to run through it, showing a real explosiveness that some running backs tend to lack at the college level.
As Mason continues to put up big numbers, the general population has started to take notice of him. While he won't be a player drafted in the first day, there's a chance that Mason's stock will continue to rise and help him get selected at either the end of Day 2 or the beginning of Day 3.
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
While there are so many prospects for Alabama who could go in the first couple of rounds, there probably isn't a more impressive player on the team than linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Many felt that Mosley could have easily been a first-round pick last year, but he decided to stay at school for another season. It clearly hasn't hurt his draft stock, because according to Mike Huguenin from NFL.com, he's one of the five finalists for the Butkus Award, which is given to the best linebacker in the country.
After just taking one look at Mosley, you realize just how intimidating he is physically. Listed at 6'2'' and 238 pounds, Mosley is an athletic monster that's capable of making big plays all over the field. He can play either inside or outside, capable of either rushing the passer or stopping the run.
While Anthony Barr will likely be the top linebacker taken in the draft, Mosley will be selected right behind him. Expect him to be a guaranteed top-10 pick, as he has the potential to be a future Pro Bowler at the position.
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