Kiper Jr. Predicts 6 Bama Players in Latest Mock Draft
In Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft, the veteran draft analyst predicted six total Crimson Tide alumni being selected in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. This comes just over two weeks before the National Football League holds its annual selection ceremony.
Mac Jones (QB) - The San Francisco 49ers became heavy favorites to get Alabama quarterback Mac Jones when the team traded with the Miami Dolphins to climb to the third-overall pick.
“Every sign two weeks out from the draft points to general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan being infatuated with Jones,” Kiper writes. “I think he's the quarterback they traded up nine spots to take.”
Still, Kiper states that he doesn’t see what the 49ers organization sees. “I'm not sure I see a superstar when I watch him on tape.”
Devonta Smith (WR) - Five picks later, the Carolina Panthers are predicted to pick up another member of the Alabama family in Devonta Smith.
While it’s worth noting that in this mock draft, LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the first receiver to be selected, one pick earlier to the Detroit Lions, but Kiper still sings praises about the 2020-21 Heisman Trophy-winning receiver.
“Smith is a stellar route runner who just gets open. Put him alongside DJ Moore and Robby Anderson and this is a top-10 offense,” Kiper writes. “Why couldn't Carolina compete for a wild-card spot in 2021?”
Jaylen Waddle (WR) - At Pick no. 11, the second member of the dynamic, Alabama receiving duo comes off the board. Kiper predicts that Jaylen Waddle, the star wideout that got injured midway through the season, will be selected by the New York Giants.
Kiper explains that a selection like Waddle will give third-year starting quarterback Daniel Jones a chance to make some deep throws to some “good pass-catchers.”
Patrick Surtain II (CB) - One pick later, at no. 12, the fellow-NFC-East partner Philadelphia Eagles are slated to select the first Alabama defensive player in cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
Many draft analysts originally predicted the Dallas Cowboys to take Surtain at Pick 10, but in this latest mock draft, Kiper has Dallas trading with the Patriots and moving down, giving the Eagles a chance to pick up a solid defensive back.
Kiper notes that if Jaylen Waddle somehow falls to the Eagles, the team will pick the Houston native in a heartbeat. Still, the ESPN analyst states that Surtain would be very helpful for Philly.
Najee Harris (RB) - As the end of the first round nears, Mel Kiper Jr. predicts that the next Alabama player to come off the board will do so at Pick no. 24. The Pittsburgh Steelers are predicted to select fan-favorite ‘Bama running back, Najee Harris.
Kiper seems to think that a back like Harris would even out the Pittsburgh offense.
“But I'd love to see Harris in this offense to take the pressure off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He could grind down defenses as a runner and help in the short passing game,” Kiper said.
Previously, many mock drafts featured another Alabama player going to the “Steel City”- offensive lineman Landon Dickerson.
Christian Barmore (DT) - To close out the first night of the NFL Draft, the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are favorites to select ‘Bama defensive tackle Christian Barmore at Pick no. 32.
Kiper notes that the Bucs are “essentially bringing back the exact same roster for 2021.” This means that the Florida-based team will have good odds to make another Super Bowl run. This experience will be good for Barmore, who Kiper states, could “replace Ndamukong Suh” in the next few years.
Landon Dickerson (C/G) - Since the draft is soon, Kiper has started to include a second-round projection. Through this entire second half of the mock draft, only one Alabama player is selected- Landon Dickerson.
Unfortunately for the FSU transfer, Dickerson’s injury near the end of the year hurt his draft stock significantly. Kiper, who used to rate Dickerson highly, now has the center dropping into the second round to Pick no. 39 by the Carolina Panthers. This could mean a potential reunion for Devonta Smith and Dickerson.
Kiper notes that it is very possible that Dickerson could play guard if he goes to Carolina.
The 2021 NFL Draft is just over two weeks away now. It kicks off on Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. It will be televised on ESPN, ABC, and the NFL Network.