Alabama Football: Predicting Tide’s NFL Draft decisions

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Which Alabama football players will return?

This is both the best and worst part of Alabama football‘s offseason. It’s great to see players achieve their dreams as they declare for the NFL Draft, but it hurts knowing that their careers in crimson are over.

Every year, someone surprises fans by returning to Tuscaloosa. Brian Robinson and Phil Mathis did so last offseason. In the offseason before that, Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith shocked fans by coming back.

Because of that, it’s hard to truly know what players will do before they officially announce their decisions. However, here are some predictions for players heading into the 2022 NFL Draft season.

Players who are definitely leaving

Phil Mathis, IDL

Mathis has already made his decision and announced it on Twitter. He had a great career with the Tide, but he’s already a super-senior. It wouldn’t make sense for him to come back and miss out on an NFL contract for another year.

Chris Allen, EDGE

Allen is also heading to the NFL. He’s one of the worst stories in Alabama football history. He had the potential to be a game-wrecker and record-breaker with the Tide, but injuries plagued his entire career. With Will Anderson and Dallas Turner coming back, Allen’s role wouldn’t even be guaranteed next year. He would certainly see the field, but it makes sense to go now before he potentially gets hurt again.

Evan Neal, OT

As of writing this, Neal hasn’t announced that he is leaving. However, he has the chance to be the first overall pick in the draft. There is no reason for him to play another down of football without being a millionaire. It’s the bitter business of college football. He will be missed, but he needs to go.

John Metchie, WR

The rumors say that Metchie has signed with an agent, meaning he is almost certainly heading to the NFL. With a knee injury, it will be interesting to see if his stock drops. Either way, he has the potential to be a key contributor on an NFL roster once he is fully healthy.

Josh Jobe, CB

Jobe wasn’t able to finish the season due to an injury, but the signing of Eli Ricks as a transfer shows that turnover is coming at this position. Jobe is likely out the door.

LaBryan Ray, IDL

Injuries plagued Ray’s time with the Tide, but there isn’t much more he can prove with another year. He’s already stayed longer than most expected, and I think his time in Crimson is up.

Brian Robinson, RB

Robinson was a monster with Alabama football this year, and he proved that he is an NFL back. He won’t be the top player on the depth chart, but he will add depth to the group wherever he goes.