Analyzing Alabama's Likely Draftees: Could Peek, Tiffin Reunite in Atlanta?
After a perfect National Championship season, Alabama has a chance to have as many as 10 players drafted this weekend.
It's hard to believe that only two years ago (2008), Alabama had zero players selected in the seven rounds of the NFL Draft, but that was before the arrival of Nick Saban recruiting class
With less than 24 hours until the NFL Draft starts, here are my predictions on which Alabama players you should expect to get drafted and where they will land.
Rolando McClain: First Round, No.11, Denver Broncos
Why This Makes Sense: Rolando McClain would immediately fill a need for the Broncos at inside linebacker next to Denver's DJ Williams.
Strengths: McClain has ideal size and strength for the inside linebacker position, to go along with his endless motor. McClain possesses great instincts essentially becoming a bigger, stronger, faster version of "Nick Saban" on the field.
Weaknesses: As an Alabama fan, it's very hard to find many of these in McClain's game, but there are a few. Though McClain is very capable in coverage, he sometimes struggles in man.
Kareem Jackson: First Round, No. 30, Minnesota Vikings
Why This Makes Sense: The Vikings' secondary is expected to be without star corner back Cederic Griffin for at least the season opener, which makes Jackson a big-time need for Minnesota.
Strengths: Jackson is equipped with great size, speed, and tremendous athleticism for the corner spot. He has good instincts, whether it's against the run or pass, and flashes ball skills to make the big play.
Weaknesses: Jackson sometimes wants the interception a little too much, resulting in big plays for the offense.
Terrence Cody: Second Round, No. 40, San Diego Chargers
Why This Makes Sense: Many people have Terrence Cody being selected by the Chargers with the 28th overall selection, but that's not how I see it.
I think the Chargers will instead pick Fresno State running back Ryan Matthews, who fills a need for San Diego after the loss of LaDainian Tomlinson. They'll be hoping that Cody is still available in the second round.
Cody should immediately start at nose guard for the Chargers after they decided to part ways with Jamal Williams.
Strengths: Cody has the perfect height and weight for the nose guard position in a 3-4 defense. He demands two blockers, giving the opposing backs a harder time finding holes. Terrence will make his money as a run-stuffer.
Weaknesses: Due to Cody's lack of endurance and inability to rush the passer, he is primarily only a two-down player. He does not have the athleticism to chase down players who are not running right at him.
Javier Arenas: Third Round, No. 67, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Why This Makes Sense: Ronde Barber is not getting any younger, and Tampa Bay really needs a corner to help out rising star Aqib Talib. Arenas also gives the Buccaneers his explosive ability as a return man.
Strengths: Like most Alabama players, Arenas has great intelligence and instincts. His quickness allows him to be good in run support and in jumping quick routes.
Weaknesses: He is small for corner, but shows great toughness. While at Alabama, Arenas was arguably the best returner in the country.
Mike Johnson: Fourth Round, No. 109, Chicago Bears.
Why This Makes Sense: Bears running back Matt Forte had a fantastic rookie year, but could not buy a hole in the 2009 season. Johnson could immediately make an impact on a horrible Bears O-line.
Strengths: Johnson has ideal size, but is tall enough that he has room to add some more weight. Johnson also has the versatility to play either guard or tackle in the NFL.
Weaknesses: Johnson does not flash great foot agility and is not always comfortable blocking in space.
Colin Peek Fifth Round, No.149, Atlanta Falcons
Why This Makes Sense: Although Tony Gonzalez is still a dynamic tight end for the Falcons, he is 34 and probably does not have many years left in him. Peek is the complete TE and would be a steal in the fifth round.
Strength: Peek has good size and bulk, and is a powerful blocker. Peek also uses his strong hands to catch the ball away from his body.
Weaknesses: Peek lacks great athleticism and speed, which could make it harder to block more athletic defenders.
Leigh Tiffin: Sixth Round, No.171, Atlanta Falcons
Why This Makes Sense: With Jason Elam gone, all the Falcons have at kicker is the aging Matt Bryant. As the No. 2-rated kicker, Tiffin could have an opportunity to win the job in mini-camp.
Strengths: Tiffin possesses adequate leg strength and precise accuracy. He also shows great work ethic, which will help him get on the field early in his career.
Weaknesses: Hard to tell with Tiffin, but he might need to improve on his kickoffs.
Brandon Deaderick: Sixth Round, No.192, Buffalo Bills.
Why This Makes Sense: Deaderick could bring his experience of playing in Saban's 3-4 defense to the Bills in their first year in the new scheme.
Strengths: Deaderick has exceptional size for a 3-4 defensive end. He uses his strength to push blockers back on their heels and has a knack for finding the ball.
Weaknesses: He does not have the speed to pass rush off the edge in a 4-3 defense, and lacks quality pass rushing moves.