Alabama Football: 2023 NFL mocks show Tide is SEC team to beat

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

In most predictions for the 2022 season, Alabama Football is the team to beat, both in the SEC and nationally. The too-early predictions are based on multiple factors including respect for Nick Saban and because the Crimson Tide has the nation’s best returning offensive and defensive players in Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr.

Another measurement can be used, though, by itself, it is not definitive. And it is WAY too early to be given undue value. That measurement is gained from reviewing 2023 NFL mock drafts from the most credible sources.

Two of the most accurate mock draft guys of the last few years are Charlie Campbell and Eddie Brown. Their results surpass the more well-known names, such as Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.

Campbell, Brown and McShay have published 2023 NFL mock drafts. They know much will change as the season plays out, but for now, these three sources represent a good look at what college teams should have the most game-changing talent in the 2023 season.

The focus of this post is that game-changers are essential to winning championships. It takes 50-55 players (including special teams players) to win a football game. Key players lead position groups, but winning football games is more a team effort than an individual effort.

But, there are moments in certain plays, during highly competitive games when individuals must rise up and make game-changing plays. Having the players capable of those special moments defines championship teams.

There are many examples, but two are remembered well by Alabama football fans. Tua Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith on 2nd-and-26 in the 2017 National Championship game is one. Another is Bryce Young with a smile on his face in Auburn, moments before a 4th down pass to Jahleel Billingsley that kept the 97-yard, game-tying drive alive.

Not just games, but seasons, and sometimes even careers hinge on such game-changing moments.

Because we are in what is always a long offseason, we have time to consider what 2023 teams have the most of such unique player resources. A good guess can come from the players projected to be NFL Draft first-rounders in 2023.

Based on the three sources linked above, SEC teams have a wide range of potential first-round selections, from zero to as many as eight. Alabama football has eight and is the only SEC program with more than three.

Alabama Football and SEC Teams Potential ’23 NFL First-Rounders

  • Alabama Crimson Tide (8) – Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr., Eli Ricks, Jahmyr Gibbs, Malachi Moore, Emil Ekiyor Jr., Henry To’oto’o and Javion Cohen
  • Georgia Bulldogs (3) – Kelee Ringo, Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith
  • Florida Gators (2) – Anthony Richardson and  Rashad Torrence
  • LSU Tigers (2) – BJ Ojulari and Kayshon Boutte
  • Ole Miss Rebels (1) – Zach Evans
  • South Carolina Gamecocks (1) – Cam Smith
  • Kentucky Wildcats (1) – Will Levis
  • Auburn Tigers (1) – Derrick Hall

Yes, based on the three mocks reviewed, the highest a Texas A&M Aggie will go in the 2023 NFL Draft is the second round.

Next. Crimson Tide five-year NFL Draft record compared. dark

Other players will be mocked in other first-round predictions. Alabama fans can argue Brian Branch and Jordan Battle should be listed – and, if he chooses the Tide, also Jordan Addison.