• Mark Jarvis

Alabama Notes

Note: Seniors have their report profile linked, although they are not filled out.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is well known as a college football powerhouse, and the notes I came away with on their draft eligible prospects indicated just that. I finished writing on the Tide after giving out a first round grade, two second round grades, two fourth grades, and a fifth round grade. Although I ended up much lower on the offensive players, I do believe many of them have a role in the league.

Jonah Williams is arguably the largest name for the Tide this season, but he did not live up to the expectations that I had after seeing potential early first round talk. Williams is a great athlete and moves around well in the run game, but he isn't a finisher or pile mover. His pass protection is going to need a lot of work due timing and hand placement inconsistencies. The upside is tremendous with Williams, but I put an early fourth round grade on him. He's too much of a liability to play outside right now, but could be a day two guy on my board as a guard.

Damien Harris is the other Alabama player that came in underwhelming on tape. I placed a third round grade on Harris last year in the lead-up to the draft, but I overvalued his athleticism during my first watch. His Florida State game was impressive as he showed explosiveness in the hole, but the rest of his games he looked lethargic. Harris has his game built around vision and swiftness, so carrying the weight he does is counterproductive to his running style. I gave him a middle fourth round grade, although he could easily become a day two prospect if he drops some weight and plays faster this season.

Hale Hentges hasn't gotten much attention, although some pundits have him listed as a top 15 senior tight end for the upcoming class. While the tight end class for 2019 doesn't seem impressive, I wouldn't consider touching Hentges even for a camp spot. His blocking is determined and his length is a plus when trying to control distance, but the downsides are obvious. He's not athletic enough to work as a pass catcher and he's too light to work as a lead blocker. Hentges will have a massive uphill climb to making it into the league. I put an undrafted grade on him with an "out of football" designation.

Ross Pierschbacher has been getting talk as a potential early day two selection at guard, but I believe it's mostly due to his Alabama pedigree. He's a technically sound blocker who stays active and looks to control position. While Pierschbacher may not generate much push in the run game or offer much as a lead blocker he has a place in the league. I placed a middle fifth round grade on him, and believe he can be a low end starter in the league. At worst he should be a good depth lineman.

Lester Cotton doesn't get much love considering the hype around Pierschbacher and Williams, but he will likely be making it into a camp this upcoming year. Cotton is a force to be reckoned with in pass protection if he's in tight spaces, as he throws boulders for hands and knocks lighter guys around. His athleticism is lacking and he may need to drop some weight around the midsection to move better, but he's built like a tank. Expect Cotton to gain some attention later in the process and potentially earn an invite to the NFL Combine. I put an undrafted grade on him, but he could rise a lot with a good senior year.

Isaiah Buggs did not stand out much when I initially did game cutups for him, but he blew me away when I sat down to really analyze his game. He's almost 300 pounds and played 5-tech effectively for the Tide last year. His hands are powerful enough to rip through contact and his bull rush is easily the nastiest on the team. He's an immediate pressure generator in the pass game, but he's no slouch in the run game. Buggs detaches effortlessly with excellent timing to interrupt the ball-carrier's path. His athletic limitations leave him behind some more physically gifted players, but he's ready to contribute as a rookie. I gave him a late second round grade.

Raekwon Davis is easily the best athlete on the Tide this year, and it's not particularly close. At 6'7" and 300 pounds he is put together like something out of a Greek myth. His length is remarkable and he uses it to control the line of scrimmage with ease. Davis will need to improve his recognition for run lanes and avoiding committing too early. He'll also need to generate interior pressure faster with his hand usage off the snap. The measurables alone make him a rare talent though. A good season that continues his development could put him into top ten conversation. I gave him an early second round grade.

Anfernee Jennings was the highest player I graded for Alabama, and I believe he's a lock for the top 50 if he's healthy. Jennings is one of the most creative and refined pass-rushers in this class. He strings together his moves seamlessly and makes it near impossible for blockers to handle him. His counters are crisp and precise but come out immediately. At 260 pounds he can hold the edge in the run game and avoiding getting moved out of the hole by blockers. The biggest questions with Jennings will be his health and bend. Jennings suffered a significant knee injury during the Clemson game last year that required surgery. He's also limited when trying to turn the corner, as he lacks the balance or body control to run the arc effectively. I gave him a middle first round grade, but he'll need to live up to the form he showed during the Clemson and Auburn games last year. If the injury deters his game at all it will be difficult to label him as a first round talent.

To recap

EDGE Anfernee Jennings: Middle 1st Round

DL Raekwon Davis: Early 2nd Round

DL Isaiah Buggs: Late 2nd Round

OL Jonah Williams: Early 4th Round

RB Damien Harris: Middle 4th Round

OG Ross Pierschbacher: Middle 5th Round

OG Lester Cotton: Undrafted

TE Hale Hentges: Undrafted

If you'd like to read the full notes I wrote down on the Alabama players, you can do so by following the link below.

Alabama Notes


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