Which Alabama underclassmen will declare for the draft?
However, both decided to skip the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl game against Michigan, so it’s not a great stretch to think those two will soon announce they’re leaving school early to pursue NFL riches.
Thus far, no Crimson Tide underclassman has made his draft intentions publically known.
Skipping the bowl game makes sense for Lewis and Diggs, as both have missed significant time due to injuries.
Lewis, in particular, has seen his career almost derailed. He tore a ligament in his elbow in the 2017 season opener, which required surgery and cost him most of the season, then Lewis tore his ACL in the summer of 2018 and missed most of the season (although returned to play in the national title game).
Lewis entered last season as a name to watch, with some projecting him as an early-round pick despite his lack of playing time up to that point. An excerpt from Walter Football’s scouting report on Lewis:
“Lewis developed behind the scenes for Alabama in 2016. Scouts have told me that in practice Lewis was very impressive as he is big and quick, plus possesses surprising change-of-direction skills. They said that Lewis has a great build and is dripping with upside. He has really impressed them watching him in practice during the past few seasons.”
I’ll never fold, I know God got me covered. It ain’t nothing he can’t get me through! I learned a lot through this journey and it made cherish things I never gave attention and learn a lot about myself. I thank God for every part of this journey 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/hELWWVFpPI
— Terrell Lewis (@_Real24_) August 31, 2019
Diggs, widely considered one of the top CB prospects in the 2020 NFL draft and a probable first-rounder, also had his season cut short in 2018. He broke his foot against Arkansas in Game 6, missing the rest of the season. He came back healthy and improved, finishing the year with a passer rating of 44.5 when targeted, according to PFF.
Are ‘Bama prospects a bit over-hyped?
Regardless of who winds up leaving school early, Alabama coach Nick Saban said the media needs to tap the breaks when it comes to the number of Crimson Tide underclassmen who could be drafted in the first round. Media reports have anywhere from six to 10 Alabama players going in the first round, most of whom are underclassmen.
“… Saban said he talked to 20 NFL teams, and they don’t quite see it the same way — a notion that’s being backed up by none of the Alabama players landing any major postseason awards, and being bypassed for All-American honors,” writes Christopher Walsh of Bama Central.
“The Crimson Tide had five second- and third-team selections by the Associated Press on Monday, but none on the one that matters, the first-team.”
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) October 20, 2019
What’s being said about the other ‘Bama underclassmen
The Lewis and Diggs decisions to enter the draft just need to be confirmed by the players. As for the other Alabama underclassmen, here’s what’s being said:
- QB Tua Tagovailoa: The chances of him returning to school are “slim to none.” – ESPN’s Mel Kiper
- WRs Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith: The trio of Alabama receivers are expected to enter the draft. – Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline
- OT Alex Leatherwood: Status unknown, but “Leatherwood could probably use another year of development.” – Bama Central
- OT Jedrick Wills: Expected to enter the draft. – Bama Central
- LB Dylan Moses: “… It seems at this point he’s unsure what he’ll do. These same sources believe the injury to Tagovailoa will impact Moses’ final decision and send him packing to the NFL.” – Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline
- RB Najee Harris: “It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Harris isn’t considered one of the top running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft.” — RollTideWire
- DL LaBryan Ray: Intentions unknown; still working way back from lower leg injury suffered against South Carolina. – Bama Central
- S Xavier McKinney: Status unknown, but “…safeties don’t go in the first round very often. “– Bama Central