5 Crimson Tide Prospects to Attend 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland
With the 2021 NFL Draft returning to a live setting, 13 prospects will attend the event in Cleveland, Ohio. Five of those players represent the Alabama Crimson Tide:
- QB, Mac Jones
- WR, DeVonta Smith
- WR, Jaylen Waddle
- DT, Christian Barmore
- CB, Patrick Surtain II
All five players are expected to be selected in the first round Thursday night.
Jones is expected to be drafted anywhere between the 3rd and 20th overall picks. He has been heavily tied to the San Francisco 49ers, which traded up to the 3rd-overall pick at the beginning of the month.
Surtain is in the discussion to be the first defensive player selected in the draft, though that could be as low as 10th overall. That would be an NFL Draft record, as the longest an NFL Draft has went without a defensive player selected is 7th-overall in 1999 when Washington selected cornerback Champ Bailey from Georgia.
Both Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith are expected to be among the first three wide receivers selected, alongside LSU's Ja'Marr Chase. Both should be off the board within the first 15 selections.
Christian Barmore is widely considered the best interior defensive lineman in an otherwise weak class at the position. Barmore could go as early as the top 15 and as late as the second round.
In total, the NFL will host 58 players in person and virtually. Of the 45 players who will be featured virtually, four are from Alabama: OT Alex Leatherwood, C Landon Dickerson, LB Dylan Moses and RB Najee Harris. These players will be featured in a similar way as the top prospects from the 2020 NFL Draft, which was conducted virtually in every respect.
The event, which will be held at a unique NFL Draft Experience theme park, will also host 50,000 fans across three days. In addition, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been vaccinated and he and the league have agreed to allow players to give the commish the traditional hug on the main stage as Goodell hands the player the jersey of the team which has selected him. Overall, the NFL has made a massive step towards bringing the event back to true normalcy.