Senior Bowl Gameday Features Just Two From Bama
The 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide sent seven players to Mobile, Alabama, this week for the Senior Bowl showcase game, but by the time the game itself arrived just two Tide prospects suited up to participate Saturday afternoon.
Najee Harris partially practiced just two days out of the week. He was ruled out of the game midway through Thursday practice after he was absent on the field at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Harris had been dealing with an ankle injury since the Rose Bowl against Notre Dame, and though he finished the season with Crimson Tide, his agents were rumored to have strongly suggested he sit the week out.
DeVonta Smith and Landon Dickerson were both known to head down to the Senior Bowl solely to meet with teams due to in-season injuries.
Thursday afternoon, quarterback Mac Jones hurt his left ankle during practice. Though the injury didn't appear at all serious, Jones was ruled out of the game just after kickoff of the Senior Bowl, despite him dressing out.
So, heading to kickoff of the senior showcase game, it was expected to see three Crimson Tide athletes. After a strong finish to his practice week, guard Deonte Brown started the game at left guard. Conversely, his counterpart Alex Leatherwood had an up and down week, and though he finished on a n upswing Thursday he didn't get the nod as a starter.
For whatever reason, which has yet to disclosed as of this writing, Alex Leatherwood didn't participate in the game at all. He wasn't spotted on the sideline Saturday afternoon and wasn't reported to have sustained any injuries during the week.
Down to just two Crimson Tide prospects, Brown and long snapper Thomas Fletcher, what was once perceived as an exciting group of Alabama alumnus in Mobile quickly turned into an underwhelming experience for the Crimson Tide fans in attendance, many of whom left at halftime.
Brown played multiple series at both left and right guard in the first half. Though he looked dominant Wednesday and Thursday, this was not the case for the 364lb behemoth guard on gameday. He struggled getting to the linebackers of the National Team and allowed a couple of pressures in the passing game. His body language on the field was indicative that he was not pleased with his performance.
As for the long snapper, Fletcher started the game for the American Team and was perfect on his attempts. On one punt from the American Team, Fletcher was one of the first players to chase down the punt inside the ten. The confidence that he can be the seventh long snapper selected in the NFL Draft in as many years should remain high.
Overall, most of the Crimson Tide's Senior Bowl prospects improved their draft stocks with possibly the exception of Leatherwood. The thought that Harris and Jones have solidified themselves as first round picks is prominent after strong performances and positive momentum heading into the next phase of the path to the draft. With Leatherwood's struggles and disappearance Saturday, his first-round status is in doubt, as his potential to be a left tackle in the NFL.
The next phase will be pro-days for not only the seven Crimson Tide athletes in the Senior Bowl, but the five other NFL prospects as well. Alabama's pro day date hasn't been announced.
Alabama's Top 10 Athletes: Spring 2021