In an unsurprising move, two high-profile Alabama draft prospects reportedly have declined an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl: defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and linebacker Reuben Foster.
As expected, #Alabama DL Jonathan Allen and LB Reuben Foster have declined Senior Bowl invites. Both projected high 1st round picks.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 18, 2017
As Brugler notes, both Allen and Foster are projected to be first round picks in the upcoming NFL draft.
Their absence from the game gives scouts one less opportunity to see them perform, but given their already tremendous draft stock, it’s a safer bet not to play and stay healthy instead.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey made similar moves last month when both decided against playing in their respective bowl games in order to avoid the risk of injury.
Former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, who now plays for the Dallas Cowboys, probably wishes he’d done the same: In a bowl game against Ohio State last New Year’s Day, Smith tore his ACL and LCL and suffered nerve damage in his knee. Once projected to be a top-five pick himself, Smith fell to the 34th overall selection in the second round. And while he had an insurance policy that reportedly paid him over $900k for falling out of the first round due to injury, he still lost millions of guaranteed dollars in the process.
Considering both Allen and Foster are anticipating being top-five picks themselves, and they’ve already played two extra games after reaching the national championship against Clemson, their decision is clearly a wise one.
The Senior Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28.