Alabama Meets the NFL: 2022 Edition
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Hunter De Siver
Here’s a look at the upcoming NFL season’s former Crimson Tide players.
Selected by the New York Giants, with the seventh-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Neal was closely scrutinized by scouts throughout the entire 2021-22 season.
Neal has made some highlight plays in training camp but hasn’t always performed to his standard during certain practices. Of course, it takes time for even the best rookies to adjust and thrive.
He joins a Giants team that’s eager for something even close to a winning record. However, that dream won’t become a reality unless Neal and the offensive line protect quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.
Williams was selected 12th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 21-year-old tore his ACL in the second quarter of the 2022 CFP National Championship against Georgia on Jan. 10. Due to the injury, his draft stock was expected to drop. However, he recovered enough to still be a mid-first round pick in April.
After transferring from Ohio State to Alabama before the 2021 season, Williams quickly became the team’s top receiver. In 15 games, Williams had 79 receptions for 1,572 receiving yards (fifth-most in NCAA) and 15 touchdowns (third-most in NCAA). He also had two kick return touchdowns in the same game. At six feet and two inches, Williams is above average for his position. He is quick and skilled enough to run every route as well as Waddle, but he could also “Moss” his defender with his staggering height.
John Metchie III
Selected 44th overall, Metchie would’ve likely been WR2 this season. The route-running specialist led Alabama in receptions with 96, which was the eighth in all of College Football.
On July 24, though, Metchie was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia and will likely miss his entire rookie season.
Phidarian Mathis was the third defensive tackle selected (47th overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft. During his senior season with the Crimson Tide had had 53 tackles (including 10.5 loss), nine sacks and two fumble recoveries (one forced fumble).
Mathis’ ability to clog the line of scrimmage at Alabama helped linebacker Will Anderson Jr. to have one of the best defensive seasons in Crimson Tide history.
Since Washington’s defensive line is already stacked with talent, including former Alabama standouts Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Mathis will have to be the backup for these two, but his senior season for the Tide proved that he’ll be ready when he’s called up.
Selected 75th overall, Harris is aiming for a high snap count this fall. After just a few days of training camp, it is uncertain if Harris will start as an outside linebacker or back up Christian Kirksey at middle linebacker.
At Alabama, Harris started almost every game since his freshman year. The middle linebacker finished fifth on the team in tackles (80), fourth in sacks (5.5) and second in tackles for loss (11.5). He was also known for his hard-hitting ability as he forced two fumbles (most on the team) last season.
Assuming that Kirksey will land the starting middle linebacker job, the weak-side linebacker position is still up for grabs. Neville Hewitt, last season’s starting weak-side linebacker, is Harris’ competition.
Selected with the 98th-overall pick last April, Alabama product Brian Robinson Jr. never received anything near the amount of recognition as former Crimson Tide running backs Derrick Henry and Najee Harris.
After waiting years for his turn, Robinson started every game of his fifth year at Alabama. Being in Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young’s shadow, Robinson rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.
Robinson’s efforts throughout training camp had given rumors that he’d get most of the carries in Washington’s talented running back room, including Antionio Gibson and J.D. McKissic.
On Aug. 28, it was reported that Robinson was shot multiple times after an attempted carjacking in Washington D.C. Thankfully, his injuries (lower body) were non-life-threatening, but it is still unknown if/when he will play this season.
Backing up Humphrey is Alabama rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis, who was selected by the Ravens with the 119th overall pick. At Alabama, Armour-Davis was tied for the most interceptions (3) on the team last season. Armour-Davis also earned All-SEC second-team honors in 2021.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Armour-Davis ran the 28th overall fastest 40-yard dash, with an official time of 4.39 seconds. At 6-foot-1, Armour-Davis also had the fifth highest vertical jump (34.5) among cornerbacks.
If Humphrey or Peters are unable to play a game, Armour-Davis’ speed, size and leaping ability make him a good option.
The undrafted free agent has shown major improvement in training camp and has risen on the depth chart. Jobe worked with the starters on Tuesday’s practice, but is still listed as a reserve.
The undrafted rookie signed with New England right after the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ray’s few games played throughout his injury-plagued career at Alabama earned him a free-agent deal. Ray aims for a spot on the roster, but teams must cut down from 80 players to 53 by 3 p.m. on Aug. 30.
The undrafted slot receiver was waived by the Baltimore Ravens last week. He is also suffering from a sports hernia injury and will need surgery.
After the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Broncos signed multiple undrafted free agents including Alabama linebacker Christopher Allen.
Allen suffered a season-ending foot injury in the kickoff game against Miami last season. He is still recovering, but will miss this entire season after being placed on the Broncos injury reserve on Aug. 10.