TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — We’re a little more than one month away from the NFL draft, and former Alabama football players continue to dominate most of the mock drafts.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his mock draft 3.0, which features five former Crimson Tide players.
Jonathan Allen, No. 4 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars
The talk of Allen being in the mix for the No. 1 overall player has halted since the NFL combine and pro day, but he’s still likely to go in the top five.
“Jacksonville has put a lot of capital into improving its defensive line — a No. 3 overall pick on Dante Fowler Jr., (2015) and big-money free-agent contracts to Malik Jackson (2016) and Calais Campbell (2017) — but Allen is almost too good to pass up at No. 4. In this scenario, Allen (6-3, 286) would probably slot in at tackle next to Jackson, but he could kick outside, too. He’s versatile enough to play in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense and rush the passer from the inside or at end. He totaled 22.5 sacks over the past two seasons in Alabama.” — Kiper
O.J. Howard, No. 6 overall, New York Jets
Howard did enough during the pre-draft buildup to help himself move into the top 10 of a lot of mock drafts. For Howard’s sake, you’d prefer for him to go to a team with a better quarterback situation than the Jets. Still, look for Howard to have a great career in the pros.
“If the Jets are really going with Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg at quarterback, they’re going to need someone to catch passes to try to score some points. At 6-6, 251 pounds, Howard is my top-ranked pass-catcher, even though he wasn’t prolific for the Crimson Tide, with just seven touchdowns in his career. He has all of the athletic attributes of a top-tier player, though, and he was one of the most impressive prospects at the combine. There is precedent for a tight end going this high, too — Vernon Davis (49ers in 2006) and Kellen Winslow Jr. (Browns in 2004) both went No. 6 overall.” — Kiper
Reuben Foster, No. 15 overall, Indianapolis Colts
This move would have Foster joining forces with former teammate Ryan Kelly, whom the Colts drafted with their first-round pick in 2016.
Foster’s combine incident hasn’t hurt his stock as much as many people tried to say it would. As it is with a lot of positions, it’s going to be more about teams having a need for an inside linebacker than anything.
“Let’s be clear here: I don’t have Foster, a top-five talent, dropping because of his bizarre combine ejection. He’s dropping here because not many teams above the Colts at No. 15 need a true inside linebacker. The Bengals and Saints, for instance, have both signed inside linebackers in free agency. Whichever team takes Foster, though, is getting a big-time, sideline-to-sideline defender with All-Pro potential. Indianapolis has done a solid job of upgrading its roster this offseason, and picking Foster (6-0, 229) is another step toward defensive respectability.” — Kiper
Cam Robinson, No. 25 overall, Houston Texans
Robinson quieted a lot of the negative talk around him with strong showings at the combine and Alabama’s pro day.
When he’s locked in, Robinson has the potential to be an elite offensive tackle.
“The Texans could be in play for a quarterback here after trading away Brock Osweiler, though Tony Romo could find his way to Houston soon if he gets his release from the Cowboys. For now I’m sticking with Robinson at No. 25, even if he’ll have no idea whom he’s blocking for. Robinson (6-6, 322) has been a known commodity for the Crimson Tide, for whom he was a three-year starter, but he isn’t a lock to play left tackle. He’s a powerful run-blocker who needs to clean up some things to reach his potential as a pass-blocker.” — Kiper
Marlon Humphrey, No. 32 overall, New Orleans Patriots
Humphrey continues to hang around as a projected first-round pick. All of the natural skills are there for Humphrey to excel at the next level. He’ll have to continue to improve his ball skills to become a true lockdown corner.
“The Saints are trying to pry away restricted free-agent corner Malcolm Butler from the Patriots, but until they do, the position is a weak spot on a defense that gave up the most passing yards per game (273.8) last season. Humphrey (6-0 197) has length, strength, speed and good bloodlines (his father is former NFL running back Bobby Humphrey). I had Haason Reddick going to the Saints with their other first-round pick, and I suspect they’d be happy with two defenders who could step in and play immediately.” — Kiper