Alabama Team News

Which of Alabama’s 12 draft picks have best chance to make lasting NFL impact?

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Calvin Ridley, Falcons

No offensive player in this draft is better suited to transition and produce as quickly in the NFL as Ridley is with Atlanta. The Falcons have an MVP-caliber quarterback, a steady running game, and multiple veteran receivers who will help him adjust.

Combine the familiarity with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and Ridley’s route-running abilities and he could see a monster rookie season. Ridley has been praised by multiple NFL pundits as being the best route-runner in this draft and, given the opportunity, he’ll make the most of that.

While opponents will focus on Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu, Ridley will hold his own and could be the heir apparent to the receiver throne in Atlanta.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Dolphins

I said it multiple times pre-draft and I’ll continue to say it now: Minkah Fitzpatrick was the closest thing to a ‘can’t miss’ player as you’re going to find.

Not only does his versatility allow him to play any position in the secondary, he’s probably the most cerebral player to come out of Alabama in the Saban era. Minkah is smart, and not just football smart. He understands developments on the field before they happen. It’s one of those traits and that transcends a specific scheme that a player might need to fit.

Minkah is the scheme and Miami now has a defensive back it can count on for ten-plus years. I’ll even go as far as to say that I believe at the end of his career, Minkah will go down as not only the best defensive back in the Saban era, but in Alabama history.

RELATED: Minkah Fitzpatrick can be remembered as Alabama’s greatest player during Saban era.

(You can follow Justin Nails on Twitter @JustinNails)

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