Early NFL Draft Entry Odds for Each Top Undecided CFB Underclassman
The national championship is quickly fading into the rearview mirror. Clemson's celebration of its 44-16 win over Alabama will continue, but the 2019 NFL draft will quickly consume our attention.
As the early entry deadline nears on Jan. 14, most draft-eligible non-seniors around the nation are still working on this decision. Understandably, just over a handful of the stars on Alabama and Clemson, the championship qualifiers, haven't yet announced.
And, understandably, those six players are the only top-50 prospects who haven't publicly revealed their choice. The rankings are based on the latest big board of Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.
Notes: Kyler Murray is not included because his overall ranking is not featured yet. Odds are for each individual, not as a whole.
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Miller ranking: No. 38 overall
Mack Wilson moved into a featured role in 2018 following the departure of Rashaan Evans to the Tennessee Titans and did not disappoint.
The junior linebacker collected 71 tackles with five takedowns for loss, seven quarterback hurries and one sack. Wilson continued showing off his terrific coverage skills, breaking up five passes and snagging two more interceptions to take his tally to six in his Alabama career.
Miller considers Wilson the best run-stopping linebacker prospect in the country. While that first-round money may be difficult to pass up, the absence of reports suggesting he's leaning NFL is reason for pause.
Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
Miller ranking: No. 37 overall
Successful NFL teams no longer need a tight end who's considered an in-line blocker and occasionally contributes as a receiver. Irv Smith Jr. fits the modern mold.
Should he declare, the Alabama product will likely test out exceptionally well compared to his position at the NFL Scouting Combine. The buzzword on Smith's scouting report will be "athlete," but Miller also thinks of the junior as the best route-running tight end in the class.
In 2018, Smith gathered 44 catches for 710 yards and seven touchdowns. That 16.1-yard average ranked seventh among tight ends with at least 20 receptions.
And it's that type of explosiveness that makes Smith a borderline first-round pick. He shouldn't pass up that billing.
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Miller ranking: No. 15 overall
If your team needs a playmaker on the back end, you want Deionte Thompson.
After waiting behind Ronnie Harrison with Eddie Jackson and Minkah Fitzpatrick alongside, Thompson joined the first-string unit in 2018 and starred. He amassed 78 tackles with 3.5 in the backfield, six pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two interceptions.
But he might not pursue the NFL just yet. Following the championship loss, Thompson said "for the players coming back, we got to execute," per Terrin Waack of the Tuscaloosa News.
Don't break out the permanent marker on Thompson.
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Miller ranking: No. 11 overall
If the national championship was Clelin Ferrell's final game for Clemson, he couldn't have asked for a better send-off.
The edge-rusher registered 1.5 tackles for loss during the rout of Alabama, capping his junior year with a team-best 19.5 stops in the backfield. Ferrell totaled 54 takedowns, 11.5 sacks, seven hurries and three forced fumbles, too.
During each of the last two seasons, Ferrell earned first-team AP All-America honors. He has nothing more to prove at this level.
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Miller ranking: No. 9 overall
Quarterback is the NFL's most important position. Edge-rusher (defensive end) would probably be next. Left tackle should follow, and Jonah Williams is the best option in the 2019 class.
A three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, he twice was named first-team All-SEC and once on the second team. Williams surrendered only five sacks during his first two years, per CFB Film Room, and zero in the 2018 regular season, per Pro Football Focus.
According to Miller, Williams is the most pro-ready tackle, best run-blocker and top pass protector. Quite the combination, huh?
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Miller ranking: No. 2 overall
As a redshirt freshman, Quinnen Williams managed only 20 tackles. However, he racked up 6.5 stops for loss and two sacks that season too.
Calling 2018 a "breakout season" for the defensive tackle would hardly do it justice, considering his production.
Williams accumulated 71 takedowns with an Alabama-best 19.5 tackles in the backfield with eight sacks. He gathered 43 total quarterback pressures during the regular season, per Pro Football Focus. The draft-eligible sophomore spent the year in the backfield.
And he should spend 2019 in the NFL.
Unless otherwise stated, all statistics are courtesy of CFBstats.