Alabama Football: In-depth Draft review for eleven Tide juniors

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Alabama football
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Crimson Tide . Devonta Smith. 7. player. 829. . Wide Receiver

Devonta Smith started the season as the forgotten man in Alabama’s fearsome foursome at WR. That changed quickly. Smitty’s first two games in 2019 were pedestrian before he had a breakout game against South Carolina. He posted 8 catches for 136 yards and 2 TDs against the Gamecocks. Arguably his best game at Alabama to that point.

That game would soon be forgotten. Two weeks later against Ole Miss he caught 11 balls for 274 yards and FIVE TDs. Devonta ended 2019 as the Crimson Tide’s leading receiver with 1200 yards and 13 TDs. He vaulted up draft boards because of it. Before the season he was considered a late round pick. Now, he is a fringe top-5 WR with a 2nd-3rd round grade.

Still, he is reported to be strongly leaning toward playing his final season for the Crimson Tide. His return would bolster a receiving corps that some thought would be lackluster in 2020 with Jaylen Waddle the only returning starter. Smith returning would be less stunning than some other guys given he is not considered a 1st round pick, but after the year he had it would still be a surprise.

Chance of return – 80 percent

Draft outlook – 2nd-3rd round

Alabama football
TUSCALOOSA, AL – SEPTEMBER 21: Henry Ruggs III . (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Crimson Tide . Henry Ruggs III. 8. player. 829. . Wide Receiver

This is one of the bigger surprises to me. Early indications are that Henry Ruggs III is considering a return to Alabama football in 2020. Ruggs is in the conversation with Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb as the second WR off the board. He is a solid 1st round pick and could raise his stock even more if his 40-yard dash is anywhere close to where experts expect.

That might end up a moot point, at least for the 2020 draft, if he does indeed come back to Tuscaloosa. The only reasons Ruggs may want to return are to win another national title, win the Biletnikoff Award, and/or rectify his drop in production.

This is one where I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ll believe it when I see it. If Ruggs OR Smith return the WR unit will again be great in 2020, but if Ruggs AND Smith return the unit will be just as good as it was in 2019.

Chance of return – 55 percent

Draft outlook – 1st round