Alabama Football: Biggest NFL Draft Decisions Post-Sugar Bowl

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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Following the Sugar Bowl on New Years Eve, Alabama football will have several players that will officially announce their intentions for next season. The Crimson Tide has draft-eligible players on both sides of the ball that will have to make decisions regarding whether they will pursue professional options or return to school.

Among the most important decisions are those of running back Jahmyr Gibbs, defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe, and defensive backs Brian Branch and Eli Ricks.

Eboigbe is a senior, and Gibbs, Branch, and Ricks are all juniors who are considered borderline first-round draft picks. For the moment, we should assume that they are all departing from the program after the bowl game. None of these exits are a sure thing, however, and the decisions of these four players could be critical to the 2023 team’s success. Should Alabama football retain any of them, the roster will receive a huge boost going into next season.

Alabama Football: RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Jahmyr Gibbs transferred in from Georgia Tech last offseason, and immediately factored in as a starter at the running back position. In 2022, he led Alabama with 850 rushing yards in the regular season. He will have the opportunity to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in the Tide’s bowl game. Gibbs also has a team-high 42 receptions for 378 yards. He has amassed 1,455 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns so far in his junior season.

Jahmyr Gibbs’ ability as a multi-purpose threat makes him appealing to NFL GMs. He is an elusive runner with home-run speed that can run through arm tackles and make defenders miss in space. He also provides great value as a receiver and a kick returner, and has improved in pass protection.

Gibbs is widely considered to be one of the top running backs in the draft. Should he return, he could potentially be a Heisman candidate as the feature back in an offense that will be breaking in a new quarterback. If he opts to enter the draft, Alabama football should be fine at running back. The Crimson Tide would still return three blue-chip running backs, and will bring in two more in its 2023 recruiting class.