Alabama 2020 NFL Draft: Fringe Round One Players
Dylan Moses (Linebacker)
Prior to an injury that cost Dylan Moses the 2019 season, he would have been a bonafide first-round selection. In fact, he was the best linebacker in all of college football heading into the 2019 season. With teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens needing linebacker help, there is a shot that he finds himself selected in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Moses offers a tremendous blend of size and speed, with a nose for the football. His ability to diagnose the play and find the football are unparalleled.
Alex Leatherwood (Left Tackle)
After playing right guard in 2018, Alex Leatherwood seamlessly moved to left tackle in 2019. He has played very well, with the exception being that he struggled a bit with LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. For my money, Leatherwood’s best position at the next level is on the interior. However, with there being many teams in need of a left tackle, he will most likely stay there. While I am not sure the tape screams round one talent, there are teams like the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals in desperate need of offensive tackle help, which could push him into the round one conversation.
Xavier McKinney (Safety)
LSU’s Grant Delpit gets the headlines when it comes to the 2020 NFL Draft safety class. However, I am not sure he is better than Alabama’s Xavier McKinney. McKinney has some traits that are reminiscent of his former teammate, Minkah Fitzpatrick. In a weak safety class, there is a very good chance that both players, Delpit and McKinney, could find their names called in the first round.
As NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah points out in the video below, Xavier McKinney is “always in attack mode”.
Bama safety Xavier McKinney (15) is always in attack mode! pic.twitter.com/4jMck4RUvE
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) July 9, 2019
The Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks at the end of round one could be very intriguing landing spots for Xavier McKinney.
DeVonta Smith (Wide Receiver)
DeVonta Smith has had an impressive 2019 campaign, as he is producing at an elite level with 1,026 receiving yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. Not bad for being the third option in the Alabama passing attack. Smith’s big-play ability will have NFL front offices excited by the notion of adding him to their passing attack.
In Alabama’s big showdown with LSU, Smith absolutely abused Derek Stingley, whom many regard as the best cornerback in college football. Take a look at the video below and watch Smith burn Stingley on a straight 9-route.
DeVonta Smith got Stingley with straight gas on Alabama's final touchdown but can we talk about the throw? 43 yards downfield from release point AND outside the numbers to the open side of the field. Bonkers throw from Tua. #DIME pic.twitter.com/X0q4l3tLtJ
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) November 14, 2019
Where will Smith land? The New Orleans Saints could use another weapon to complement Michael Thomas.
Terrell Lewis (Edge)
Terrell Lewis returned to the Alabama starting lineup in 2019, just one year after an ACL tear cost him his 2018 season. Lewis is an explosive and productive pass rusher who seems to have regained his lethal burst. He offers flexibility to bend around the corner and can finish. He is a first-round type of talent but is unlikely to hear his name called on day one, as he comes with injury concerns.
With that said, he won’t wait too long on day two to hear his name called. When the dust settles, I see Lewis being a top-45 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.