Former LSU linebacker Patrick Queen is an effective instance of how an enormous efficiency in a nationwide championship sport may also help a participant increase his NFL draft inventory.
Queen was a rising prospect all through final season and capped it by being the defensive MVP of the Faculty Soccer Playoff championship victory in opposition to Clemson. About three and half months later, Queen was chosen within the first spherical by the Baltimore Ravens at No. 28 total.
No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State head into the nationwide title sport Monday night time with a slew of future NFL gamers. The matchups won’t solely decide who wins a championship, however might additionally affect the place a few of their stars are drafted.
”You do wish to look right into a participant’s capability to play within the clutch and within the massive moments as a result of clearly if you’re placing collectively a soccer group, an NFL roster, your aim is to be enjoying within the playoffs,” mentioned Jim Nagy, Senior Bowl government director and a former NFL scout. ”So that you wish to take a look at the consequential video games. The video games that actually matter.”
Alabama middle Landon Dickerson, who’s out with a knee damage, and guard Deonte Brown have already accepted invites to the Senior Bowl on Jan. 30, Nagy mentioned. Heisman Trophy-winning receiver DeVonta Smith, star operating again Najee Harris and deal with Alex Leatherwood have additionally been invited.
For Ohio State, middle Josh Myers, operating again Trey Sermon, linebackers Tuf Borland and Barron Browning, and defensive finish Jonathon Cooper plan to participate within the Senior Bowl, Nagy mentioned. Invites have additionally been prolonged to defensive deal with Haskell Garrett and linebacker Pete Werner.
There are maybe 20 gamers who might doubtlessly be drafted in April after enjoying for the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields was wonderful in opposition to Clemson, throwing six landing passes and displaying off accuracy and arm energy all around the area. He additionally displayed poise and toughness, enjoying a lot of the sport after taking a nasty hit to his facet.
That got here after an inconsistent and truncated season that has known as into query Fields’ standing as the perfect accessible QB behind Trevor Lawrence.
”There’s loads of buzz across the league about (BYU’s) Zach Wilson being the No. 2 choose within the draft behind Lawrence,” mentioned Dane Brugler, a draft analyst for The Athletic. ”Fields, with what he did, it modified that slightly bit. He is making groups form of return and rethink.”
The Alabama protection has had some bumpy moments, however it’s nonetheless essentially the most proficient group Ohio State has confronted, beginning with SEC defensive participant of the 12 months Patrick Surtain III. The junior will most likely be the primary cornerback drafted if he declares.
Plus, Fields will probably be examined by Alabama schematically.
”Give (Tide coach) Nick Saban 10 days to determine you out and to search out your weaknesses, that is terrifying,” mentioned Matt Miller of NFL Draft Scout.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is among the many second tier of quarterbacks within the upcoming draft that features Florida’s Kyle Trask and perhaps SMU’s Shane Buechele.
Jones has been excellent, however he does not have athletic traits akin to Fields and Lawrence. Jones is surrounded by top-end expertise, and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has finished job of scheming receivers open and creating mismatches.
”He is a really, very troublesome analysis as a result of how do you separate him from simply an elite scenario,” Brugler mentioned of Jones.
Particularly on the heels of former Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie NFL season, which was strong however removed from spectacular.
Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade made the All-America group, however that was a beneficiant analysis based mostly on status and final 12 months’s play when he was a nickelback and slot nook.
His transfer to the surface this season has been spotty at greatest and indicative of Ohio State’s cornerback play normally. Now, he will get to face Smith, a positive first-rounder, and the gemstone of Alabama’s prolific passing sport.
”If I am Alabama and Steve Sarkisian, I am getting DeVonta Smith on (Wade’s) facet of the sector as a lot as humanly attainable as a result of nobody has been in a position to cease him,” Miller mentioned.
Brugler mentioned Wade’s future may nonetheless lie at security.
”On the similar time, if he goes on the market and performs at a excessive stage in opposition to Smith, then impulsively that is a unique dialog,” Brugler mentioned. ”However based mostly on what we have seen from Shaun Wade this 12 months, it simply does not seem to be a sensible risk.”
IN THE TRENCHES
Alabama defensive deal with Christian Barmore is a third-team All-American and a third-year sophomore, so he’s no positive factor to enter the draft.
The 310-pounder has not performed at a constantly excessive stage that will make him a lock first-rounder. Nonetheless, Brugler mentioned the defensive position class is skinny on the prime of this draft and Barmore has an opportunity to be better of the bunch.
Barmore will face take a look at in Ohio State’s inside line. All-America guard Wyatt Davis and Meyers are probably Day 2 draft picks with backside of the first-round potential.
Ohio State operating again Trey Sermon has gone on a exceptional late-season tear with 636 yards speeding in his final three video games. He ought to count on to see loads of linebackers Dylan Moses and Christian Harris, the highest two tacklers for the Crimson Tide.
Nagy mentioned Sermon seemed like a possible beginning NFL operating again earlier than injuring his knee final season whereas at Oklahoma.
”He is gotten his alternative these previous few weeks there for Ohio State and he is taken full benefit of these, however to do it in opposition to a Nick Saban protection in a nationwide championship sport would simply be that subsequent stage for him,” Nagy mentioned.
Comply with Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and hear at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/
Extra AP faculty soccer: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25