Alabama Team News

Even if top two backs depart for NFL, Alabama will be fine at the position for 2018

Alabama RB Josh Jacobs
John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Underclassmen have until January 15 to declare for the NFL draft, and among the Alabama players who will be contemplating the early jump will be running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough.

Harris has rushed for 906 yards and 11 TDs on 110 attempts, and depending on how he is used and the flow of the game, Harris could reach 1,000 yards for the second season in a row during the Sugar Bowl.

Harris has burst at the point of attack and showed top-end speed and breakaway capability this season. His ability to read the defense and cut back may be his greatest attribute; he’s solid in pass protection as well, a critical characteristic in the NFL.

Scarbrough has rushed for 549 yards and eight touchdowns on 108 carries. At 6 feet 2 and 235 pounds, he’s a punishing runner with the body type almost every NFL team desires. Despite multiple injuries earlier in his career, Scarbrough has stayed healthy this season.

RELATED: Nine Alabama players weighing decision to leave Tide early for NFL

His injury history makes his decision more complicated. Staying for his senior season and putting up good numbers certainly could help his draft stock, but one more injury could derail it altogether. This may be his best chance to make money now. He could go on to a lengthy career in the NFL, but there’s also a chance he may never play a down in the pros either.

If nothing else, you have to strike when you’re the hottest, and Scarbrough may be forced to do that now.

Even though they have time to make their decisions, Harris and Scarbrough should both strongly consider the jump to the NFL. Neither has anything left to prove at Alabama and likely can’t significantly boost their pro stock. If I’m either one, I’m putting my name out there as soon as possible.

As for who would take over if they leave, it’s a good group.

Once he became healthy, Josh Jacobs (above) emerged as a third option who can run, block and catch. Jacobs also has been used in the return game, which speaks to his versatility.

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