Draft Analyst Ranks Two Alabama Players in Top 25 Prospects
In his most recent ranking of the top 25 prospects in the upcoming 2022 NFL draft, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper places two Alabama players on the list.
Coming up to a year removed from the 2021 draft, where the Crimson Tide put up an impressive six first round picks, tying the all-time draft record for most first rounders in a single year with the 2004 Miami Hurricanes, Alabama may be set to have only two first rounders in the 2022 draft. If this happens, this will be the Tide's lowest number of first round picks since 2016, when they only had one.
Alabama having only two players on Kiper's top 25 list is a far cry numbers wise from the five Crimson Tide players he had on his list last year, who all ended up being first round picks. The players who caught his eye enough this year to be ranked in his top 25 were Evan Neal and Jameson Williams.
Neal comes in at No. 3 on the list, and even has the chance to be Nick Saban's first top overall pick at Alabama, depending on which position Jacksonville decides they need more. As one of the top offensive lineman in the nation last season, Neal was in charge of protecting the eventual Heisman winner in Bryce Young, and has received high praise from Kiper on how well he did the job. "He is the complete package, excelling as a run-blocker and also in moving his feet as a pass protector."
Ranked at No. 14 on the list, Williams transferred from Ohio State to Alabama and had an immediate impact, recording 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns and becoming the Tide's number one receiver in 2021. Even with tearing his ACL in the national championship game, Kiper still believes Williams can be a first round pick depending on how well his rehab goes. "I was really impressed with his all-around game in 2021," Kiper wrote when describing Williams. "He's a No. 1 NFL receiver when healthy."
While Kiper's top 25 lists have been decently accurate in the past for predicting first rounders, they aren't an 100 percent guarantee. This means the Tide could have more or less than two players drafted in the first round.
The 2022 NFL draft will take place at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada on Thursday, April 28th at 7 p.m. CT and will be aired on ESPN.
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