Alabama NFL prospects: Pros and cons for every defensive player

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NFL draft

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Hunter De Siver

Here’s a look at how the University of Alabama Crimson Tide’s defensive prospects for the NFL Draft are shaking out.

Christian Harris (Middle Linebacker)

Pros:

Hard-hitting: Harris led the team in forced fumbles this season with two and frequently tackles ball-carriers with lots of force.

Fast in zone coverage: Harris’ eye-opening 4.44 second 40-yard dash in the NFL Combine further proved his quick ability to cover a large portion of the midfield.

Able to reach the backfield often: Harris had the second-most tackles for loss on the team last season. Will Anderson had the most, but he also had 11 more than anyone in college football.

Cons:

Man coverage against wide receivers: Harris has been surpassed by receivers multiple times, which have resulted in long gains.

Size (6-foot, 226 pounds): These measurements are below average for NFL linebackers. This can result in poor matchups when Harris lines up against a big tight end.

Jalyn Armour-Davis (Cornerback)

Pros:

Man coverage: Jalyn’s 4.39 second 40-yard dash was one of the fastest among defensive backs. This helps him keep up with the fastest receiver on the opposing team.

Length: At 6 feet 1 inch with a 6-feet 2-inch wing span, Jalyn’s catch radius and ability to reach far enough to defend passes gives him a solid advantage over several of the defensive back prospects.

Closing: Jalyn is extraordinary at purposely trailing a receiver, then shifting to fifth gear with his elite speed to break up a pass.

Cons:

Over-running: Jalyn often runs further than the receiver, allowing for comeback routes to be completed.

Hips: Jalyn often turns his hips in the wrong direction, allowing for NFL caliber receivers to fly by him

Phidarian Mathis (Defensive Tackle)

Pros:

The Nose: Mathis proved that he can be the lone DT on the line through Saban’s 3-4 defensive formation as he had nine sacks (26th in the nation).

Strength: Mathis bursts through offensive lineman more easily than most of the prospects.

Arm movement: Mathis sheds blocks with excellent swim and bull rush moves.

Cons:

Competition: In almost every game, Mathis lined up against someone who was smaller, slower and weaker. That will be the opposite during his rookie campaign.

Foot quickness: Mathis can often fall for outside runs and misdirection moves by the running back.

Christopher Allen (Outside Linebacker)

Pros:

2020: Allen was a large part to the Crimson Tide’s undefeated championship run, as he had 13 tackles for loss (15th in the nation)

Coverage: Similar to Christian Harris, Allen can cover tight ends and the middle if the field very well.

Size: At 6 feet 4 inches and 242 pounds, Allen is tall enough to matchup with some of the most physically dominant tight ends in the NFL and big enough to shed through offensive lineman to get to the backfield.

Cons:

Lack of play: Allen was sidelined nearly all of last season after a foot injury during Week One. A year without football can be a risk for any NFL team to draft him.

Tackling: Even with his amazing 2020 season, Allen missed several tackles because of he went high when he should’ve gone low and vice versa.

Josh Jobe (Cornerback)

Pros:

Deep zone coverage: Jobe is best when he has to cover deep downfield. He’s consistently able to keep the defender in front of him

Hard-hitting: Jobe has made several highlight reel plays in the “big hits” department throughout his collegiate career

Positioning: With the combination of his deep coverage and hitting ability, don’t be surprised if NFL teams move him to safety

Cons:

Grabby: Jobe often grabbed receivers resulting in penalties.

Aggression: Jobe bit on several fake moves throughout his collegiate career leading to missed tackles and his opponent breaking free.

LaBryan Ray (Defensive Tackle)

Pros:

Height: At 6 feet 5 inches, Ray can easily interrupt the passing lanes by simply putting his hands in the air.

Strength: Offensive lineman struggled to move Ray outside of running lanes. Even though he is about 15-20 pounds lighter than the average defensive lineman, he often needed to be double-teamed.

Tackling: Ray’s aggressive tackling style will intrigue many teams in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Cons:

Injuries: Ray has battled injuries his entire collegiate career. He has only played in 36 games in five years.

The next level: Because of his limited time on the field, it is simply unknown how he will perform against the best offensive lineman in the world.

The first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft will be selected on Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Sports