Death. Taxes. The Alabama Crimson Tide producing NFL draft prospects. Such things in life are certainties and the 2023 NFL Draft promises to be no different. In fact, there is the potential for impressive domination even by Nick Saban’s standards. Between returning players, homegrown talents, and transfer portal additions, Alabama is once again the team to watch this coming fall.
Alabama prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft
When old Rose uttered the phrase “it’s been 84 years” at the start of the film Titanic, few people realize that she was actually referring to the last time Alabama failed to have a first-round pick in the NFL draft. Okay, that might be a little hyperbolic but you get my point.
It’s actually been 14 years since the Crimson Tide didn’t have a player selected on Day 1. In most classes since the 2008 class, they’ve had multiple first-round prospects, and that promises to be the case next April. Who are Alabama’s potential 2023 NFL Draft prospects?
Will Anderson Jr., EDGE
Alabama could have the first player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft in the shape of Will Anderson Jr. There’s little debate that the dominant defensive prospect was the best player in college football last fall with out-of-this-world production. There’s every reason to believe that he will be again this season.
Boasting exceptional athleticism, power, and hand usage, Anderson is a devastating force around the edge and when attacking the interior. At this moment, it feels only a QB-needy team could deny him the first overall selection in April.
Bryce Young, QB
That quarterback challenge could come from his own dressing room. After leading Alabama to a spot in the national championship in his first season as a starter, Bryce Young has positioned himself in the QB1 conversation in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The third-year QB showcases poise, impressive if not elite arm talent, and the creative mobility to change a game in his team’s favor. Furthermore, he’s proven to be a leader at a young age. Questions over his size, however, may limit his potential suitors at the next level.
Eli Ricks, CB
Eli Ricks excelled as a freshman at LSU in 2020, tallying four interceptions while allowing just 13 catches all season. Like former teammate Derek Stingley Jr., can Ricks parlay one explosive introduction to college football into an early first-round selection?
At 6’2″ and 196 pounds, Ricks has the size to be an impactful NFL cornerback. His transfer to Alabama gives him the opportunity to join the pantheon of highly drafted Crimson Tide CBs.
Malachi Moore, DB
With the addition of Ricks and the return to full fitness of Malachi Moore — plus a host of other playmakers — Alabama may have one of the best secondaries in the 2023 NFL Draft. Moore was electric as a freshman in 2020 but was hobbled by injury last fall. On his day, he’s explosive while showcasing great eye discipline and technical excellence. If he can return to his very best at full health, Moore can establish himself as a playmaker in the secondary.
Jordan Battle, S
Having extricated himself from a safety class that contained some elite prospects, Alabama’s Jordan Battle returns as one of the best safeties in the 2023 NFL Draft class. He boasts size and impressive athleticism at the position. Meanwhile, Battle’s wealth of experience and depth of versatility ensures that he can fill any number of roles that he might be asked to undertake at the NFL level.
Henry To’oTo’o, LB
As the quarterback of the Alabama defense, Henry To’o To’o put together a statistically stellar 2021 season, often looking like the best linebacker on the Crimson Tide roster. To’o To’o showcased intelligence, a hot motor, and can be an explosive force in multiple facets of the game.
In my opinion, he made the right decision to return to school for another year. He can iron out some inconsistencies in his game while elevating his stock in the 2023 class.
Emil Ekiyor Jr., G
Alabama guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. has the potential to assert himself atop this 2023 NFL Draft interior offensive line class. At 6’3″ and 324 pounds, he’s a stout presence on the interior who plays the game with power. Ekiyor has showcased violent hands and impressive grip strength to manipulate his opponent in the run game. Meanwhile, his work with the Samaritans highlights his high off-field character.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB
Former Georgia Tech RB Jahmyr Gibbs might be the most exciting addition to an Alabama team that has made exceptionally good use of the transfer portal this offseason. The 5’11”, 200-pound offensive weapon is impactful whenever he has the ball in his hands. Gibbs has good burst and vision as a rusher, can be a reliable and legitimate threat as a receiver, and possesses special-teams experience and excellence as a returner.
Cameron Latu, TE
As the 2021 college season progressed, Cameron Latu emerged as Alabama’s game-changing tight end. The former DE/OLB tallied eight touchdowns while averaging 15.8 yards per catch.
Latu boasts great size at 6’5″ and 250 pounds. Meanwhile, his defensive experience shows up in his hand placement and ability to easily absorb contact as a blocker. The latter is also apparent in his ability to add yardage after the catch as a receiver. He has the potential to be a key player in the 2023 NFL Draft TE class if he continues to develop.
Jermaine Burton, WR
Jermaine Burton is a 6’0″, 200-pound WR whose transfer from Georgia gives Alabama a genuine vertical threat with size, speed, ball tracking, and a natural pass-catching style. Burton has showcased quick feet and the ability to add yardage after the catch with some elusiveness and agility. While he might not make a Jameson Williams-esque leap up draft boards, Burton is definitely a player that belongs on our 2023 NFL Draft prospects list.
Javion Cohen, G
Although he has tackle experience, Javion Cohen is expected to continue to man the interior of the offensive line for Alabama this season. While he hasn’t earned the attention similar to teammate Ekiyor early in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, he’s impressive in his own right.
At 6’4″ and 305 pounds, Cohen flashes impressive athletic ability. That’s helped him become a key fixture in establishing the Alabama ground game. Although he excels in the run game, he didn’t give up a sack on over 600 pass-blocking snaps last year.
DeMarcco Hellams, S
Having earned significant starting time last year, DeMarcco Hellams wisely opted to return for his senior season. The Alabama safety has shown to be an impactful defensive hammer coming downhill, using his size and length to easily shed blockers and meeting ball carriers with violent intentions.
A former wide receiver, Hellams also flashes enticing potential at the catch point. His return will allow him to develop some of the negative aspects of his scouting report, potentially elevating his stock ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Justin Eboigbe, DT
At 6’5″ and 285 pounds and with long arms, Justin Eboigbe has the size, frame, and length to hold down the 3-4 defensive end position at the NFL level. The Alabama lineman showcases power at the point of attack and puts his length to good use in disengaging from blocks and with his ability to disrupt passing lanes. With the ability to attack both the interior and outside, plus his prowess in the run game, Eboigbe should attract some attention in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Will Reichard, K
If Will Reichard can capture his 2020 season form, he could emerge as one of the top kickers in the 2023 NFL Draft class. The Alabama kicker didn’t miss a single kick of any description in his sophomore season. Last year, however, he connected on only 78.6% of his field goals and missed an extra point against LSU. With a career-long of 52 yards, Reichard has the leg power to be successful at the NFL level.
Byron Young, DT
In his first full season of action for Alabama, defensive tackle Byron Young showcased reasons to be excited about him as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect. Firstly, with 7½ tackles for loss, he was among the most productive players on defense. More importantly from a scouting perspective, he showcased an explosive first step, violence in his hands, and sharpness in his mind to be able to consistently diagnose well against the run game.
DJ Dale, DT
After earning some attention early in the last cycle, DJ Dale returns to Alabama with the hopes of elevating his stock ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. At 6’3″ and 307 pounds, Dale is a stout defensive tackle who uses his size to play with good pad level and the ability to win with understanding of leverage. He flashes some lateral agility while possessing enough violence in his hands and power in his lower body to be a disruptive presence.
Tyler Steen, OT
Potentially stepping into the somewhat gargantuan shoes left by Evan Neal, Tyler Steen is one of the more intriguing 2023 NFL Draft prospects for Alabama. The former three-star offensive tackle arrives from Vanderbilt with a weight of expectation but an excellent opportunity.
Steen’s experienced, with 21 of his 32 starts at LT. At 6’5″ and 315 pounds, he’s not quite as big as Neal, but he’s imposing nonetheless. Meanwhile, he showcased impressive athletic ability at Vanderbilt, particularly getting out to the second level.
Brian Branch, DB
A true junior, Brian Branch may be low-key one of Alabama’s most exciting prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. The 6’0″, 193-pound defensive back has been the ultimate utility man for the Crimson Tide. He’s spent time in every conceivable alignment but impressed in the “star” role last year.
He’s impactful in coverage, has enticing athletic upside, and hits with ludicrous force. Branch is more than just a heavy hitter, though. The Alabama DB uses correct form to ensure that broken/missed tackles aren’t a thing when he envelopes you.
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