Alabama Football: NFL teams struggle with what they cannot see

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Vs Western Carolina
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Alabama Vs Western Carolina /

Some Alabama Football players may be undervalued in the NFL Draft. With Nick Saban’s Alabama Football factory consistently developing NFL players, how could a former Crimson Tide player not be highly rated? The answer is the difficulty of measuring player intangibles.

The process of evaluating and choosing players for the NFL Draft is not science. Though a massive amount of player data is compiled, the numbers cannot provide a complete profile of a player. All the effort is to find certainty where none exists. Former Alabama Football reporter, Ben Jones recently stated an uncommon opinion.

"No one knows anything about the NFL Draft. Not you. Not sports writers. Not even NFL scouts, coaches, GMs. No. One. If you could predict with 60% accuracy whether a 1st round QB would be a bust or not, you’d have a skill worth millions of dollars."

As the 2021 NFL Draft nears, three former Alabama football players are being doubted on the basis of their measurables. The former Crimson Tiders are Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith and Dylan Moses.

Jones is doubted because of the Alabama football system he played in and his supposed lack of athletic ability. Smith is doubted simply because some believe he is too skinny. For Dylan Moses, playing a season through an MCL injury distorted the perception of his speed and power. All three guys could be drafted lower than their total package of skills warrant.

The problem is, as good as NFL teams are at evaluating talent, they are weak at measuring a player’s brain and heart. If they were good at measuring those intangibles, Mac Jones would be the No. 2 quarterback in the Draft; DeVonta Smith would be the No. 1 wide receiver and Dylan Moses would not drop below the middle of the second round.

Most NFL Draft experts believe the New York Jets will pick Zach Wilson at No. 2. Alabama Football and New York Jets legend, Joe Namath has a different take.

"When asked if he compared Mac Jones to Tom Brady Joe said, “I see a possibility. I don’t see anybody in Brady, Tom Brady. He’s one of a kind, right? But I do see Jones comparable to Brady when he was coming out, maybe even ahead of Brady, when Brady was coming out of Michigan.”"

What Joe sees in Mac is what Steve Sarkisian saw in Mac last season.

"This guy he can’t beat you with his feet, but he’s really good in the pocket, he’s got great accuracy, and he’s probably the most, I don’t want say intelligent, but probably the fastest processor in terms of going from first-read to second-read to third-read of any of the quarterbacks in this draft class."

Maybe intelligent is not the right word but speed in processing information matters for all football players. That is something that is difficult to measure but can be seen in the careers of Jones, Smith and Moses. They are football smart.

Next. Spring reviews for Auburn, LSU, Arkansas and Mississippi State. dark

NFL execs should take a step back if they are worrying about Mac not being athletic or Smitty not weighing enough or Dylan being damaged goods. Countering those concerns are what the trio of former Crimson Tide players have in their head and in their heart.