With the 2018 NFL Draft over, I want to examine which of the 12 Alabama players selected I think have the best chance at becoming impact pro players. How highly a player is picked obviously gives us an indication of his potential to stand out, but we see highly-chosen players flop annually. How a player’s talent fits a team’s playing style can be equally as important.
With that in mind, here are the top five players from the 2018 Alabama draft class – in order – who I think will have the best pro careers.
Ronnie Harrison, Jaguars
Harrison was the lone Alabama player taken on day two of the draft. He walks into a Jacksonville locker room full of young talent. Though he will likely start his career as a backup, I fully believe he’ll make his way on the field sooner rather than later.
Harrison was phenomenal in run support and had a knack for making tackles at Alabama, but where he might surprise people with his cover skills.
Harrison was technically the sixth safety taken in the draft, but probably landed in the best spot for his as far as what he can provide a young defense with lots of leadership and the flexibility to work in Harrison into a nice rotation in the secondary.
Da’Ron Payne, Washington
Washington obviously loves players from Alabama, especially defensive players, as Payne will join Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson as well as Shaun Dion Hamilton in D.C.
Payne can immediately step in and play a traditional nose tackle or be called upon to simply get up into the backfield; he is not only a big body, but an agile lineman as well.
Payne and Allen together could wreak havoc on NFC East foes who feature two quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Dak Prescott, who can manipulate the pocket with their ability to scramble.
Again, don’t let Payne’s size fool you, the big man can and will run you down.
Rashaan Evans, Titans
Evans was forced into different roles while at Alabama because of depth and injuries. What the Titans get in Evans is a guy who will probably play inside linebacker while also capable of doing a little bit of everything.
There will be an adjustment period when it comes to covering running backs and tight ends at this level, but Evans should transition easily. His best attribute is his ability to play downfield.
Used correctly, Evans will be a star in Tennessee for years to come.
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