Alabama football had an SEC record twelve players drafted this past April. All of the former Tide players are expected to contribute in some capacity but three will have an immediate impact on their teams this fall.
Alabama football head coach Nick Saban implemented an NFL type scouting system that helps him designate recruits that will fit his philosophy. The sophisticated method was developed in Cleveland under NFL great Bill Belichick. Following the system has allowed Saban to build a college powerhouse.
Although a record was set for players drafted, here are three that will contribute immediately:
Last season, superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott faced the wrath of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and received a six-game punishment for a domestic violence incident. The Dallas Cowboys have the NFL’s best offensive line with All-Pros tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and guard Zack Martin.
Elliott was the beneficiary of their play during his rookie season as he rushed for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. The electric running back managed 983 yards in only ten games last season. The Cowboys finished second in the NFL with 135.6 yards per game. Backup running back Rod Smith is serviceable, but he is not Bo Scarborough.
Before Bo left injured in the College Football Playoff Championship game against Clemson, he was having a stellar season for the Crimson Tide. Standing at a massive six foot two and 235 pounds, he is a load to bring down especially in the second half of games. Nick Saban knew the impact his bruising back had on tired defenses when he is fully healthy.
Scarborough can catch the ball out of the backfield evidenced by finishing second on the Crimson Tide in catches.
As a result, head coach Jason Garrett’s utilization of Bo will be vital in maintaining a ball control offense and keeping his job.
Rashaan Evans has the opportunity to start day one with the Tennessee Titans. He faces a position battle with sixth-year inside linebacker Daren Bates, a five foot eleven linebacker out of Auburn.
Additionally, Evans started out at Alabama as an outside linebacker because of his innate ability to get to the quarterback.
Saban inserted him into the national championship game his sophomore season to spy Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. The outcome was three tackles and two quarterback sacks of the all-world quarterback and an Alabama victory 45-40.
The following season, Saban moved him into inside linebacker alongside Reuben Foster. Once again, the linebacker registered eleven tackles and a half sack against Watson. Only this time, the result was a loss.
Rashaan gives new head coach Mike Vrabel a valuable player that can be plugged in anywhere and make plays all over the field. The defense finished 13th overall with an average of 328 yards allowed.
Additionally, Saban’s expert player development allows Evans to see the field early. He can make an average defense better.
Minkah Fitzpatrick is the spitting image of former head coach Nick Saban.
Yahoo Sports reported Miami Dolphins scout Ron Brockington arrived at Mal Moore Alabama Football facility to watch tape six hours before the Tide’s game against the Tennessee Volunteers. When he came, he saw Fitzpatrick sitting in the defensive backs room, watching tape already in his suit, leery of any distractions around him. After he saw that, he sent a picture to the Dolphins general manager and another scout in amazement.
However, this does not come as a surprise to any Alabama football fans. Since preseason camp his freshman season, he has impressed onlookers with his fluid style and knowledge of the game.
Therefore, Minkah’s challenge with the Dolphins is absorbing the playbook and getting on the field early to duel Reshad Jones for the strong safety spot.
The pass defense finished 16th in the NFL allowing 225 yards a game. Miami ended the season 28th in interceptions with nine and 29th in giveaway/takeaways with -14.
Finally, by midseason, expect Fitzpatrick to be roaming the defensive backfield of the Dolphins as a starter.
Furthermore, one unrestricted free agent from this year’s class you should keep your eye on is Buffalo Bills wide receiver, Robert Foster. For whatever reason, his potential never materialized with Alabama football. AJ McCarron could make this former Tide player a star.