Alabama Players: Stay Or Go
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Alabama Players: Stay Or Go

With the 2015 NFL draft around the corner, which players will be drafted?

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Alabama Players: Stay Or Go
today.usa.com

When it comes to college football, the Alabama Crimson Tide could be compared to a semi-professional team to the NFL. Every year, NFL scouts make their trip down to Tuscaloosa and Indianapolis for the Alabama pro day and the NFL combine to see if any members of the program have what it takes to make it into the NFL. This year should be no different.

Alabama came into the Iron Bowl with a 10-1 record, and has the best chance to represent the SEC for the second consecutive season in the College Football Playoff. Not only that, but some of the top scouts will be traveling to the final Crimson Tide games of the season to begin looking at the draft class Alabama might be producing.

While seniors are shoe-ins for Alabama pro day, several players still must decide if they would like to go pro after this season or come back for their senior year. It is never an easy task due to where they might fall in the draft, but sometimes their draft stock will only reach so high before they begin to plummet.

With that in mind, let's look at the Alabama juniors who could declare for the draft and see if they should stay or go.

Seniors who will leave.

QB Jake Coker, RB Kenyan Drake, WR Richard Mullaney, OL Ryan Kelly, OL DL Jarran Reed, OL Dominick Jackson, DL Darren Lake, LB Reggie Ragland, LB Dillion Lee, LB Denzel Duvall, CB/PR Cyrus Jones, and DB Geno Matias-Smith.

Defensive lineman, A'Shawn Robinson.

This year, Alabama has been known for two things: Derrick Henry and the front seven of the defense. Leading the pack is junior A'Shawn Robinson, who has made an impact since he arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2013. Robinson's 320-pound 6'4 frame shows big promise to tear through offensive lines in the NFL. He is also versatile on the line playing anywhere between a defensive end and a three technique, all the way to a nose tackle. He can fit in any defense in the NFL, and probably will not see his draft stock any higher. This is a no-brainer for Robinson.

Draft grade: top 15 pick. Verdict: go to NFL.

Tight end, OJ Howard.

When OJ Howard arrived in Tuscaloosa, Crimson Tide fans believed he would become the next Jimmy Graham. While he has shown promise as receiving tight end, the Lane Kiffin offense has not played well in his favor over the past two seasons. In his freshman seasons, Howard had 14 receptions for 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Since then -- 47 receptions for 559 yards, but zero touchdowns. While the tight end class isn't as strong as in recent years, he still could be one of the first tight ends taken, however not the first. If OJ Howard stays, he could gain a few more touchdowns to add to the resume, but if he plays mute in the offense like he has been in 2015, it could really hurt his stock for the 2017 draft.

Draft grade: late second to mid third round. Verdict: go to the NFL.

Safety, Eddie Jackson.

Eddie Jackson was originally recruited as a cornerback, but after tearing his ACL in 2014, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart believed that moving Jackson to safety would further his career. So far, he has been correct as Jackson has thrived in as a strong safety. An undersized player, but can cover like a corner, Jackson has five interceptions and two touchdowns in the year. Not only that, but he leads the country in interception yards with 230. The thing is, Jackson doesn't have enough experience to be a true safety in the NFL. While sometimes corners will be drafted to move to the free safety position, Jackson has been playing a strong safety and should consider coming back for his senior year. While he may have five interceptions, coming back could be better for his future to build his stock.

Draft grade: fourth-sixth round. Verdict: stay at Alabama.

Linebacker, Reuben Foster.

Reuben Foster shocked the state of Alabama when he got a tattoo of a tiger on his arm and then dissed the Auburn Tigers by coming to Tuscaloosa. Foster was stuck behind Reggie Ragland, Trey DePreist and CJ Mosley his first two years, but thrived making plays on special teams. Now in his first year as a full-time starter, Foster has been a key component of the front seven success, coming in third on the team with 55 tackles. Foster could go to the NFL if he chooses to, but would be more of a later round pick. This situation is much like Reggie Ragland last season. Ragland decided to stay and is now a consensus first-round pick. If Foster stays and becomes the leader of the Alabama defense, he could boost his stock by several rounds.

Draft grade: late third to late fourth round. Verdict: stay at Alabama.

Defensive lineman, Jonathan Allen.

If this question would have come up at the bye week, Jonathan Allen would be smart to stay for his senior season. Now, after his last few games, this becomes the hardest choice of anyone on the board. Allen has only 31 tackles on the season and 13 solo tackles. However, Allen leads the defensive line with nine total sacks and 11.5 tackle for losses. Allen sees his late day two draft stock rising to anywhere between the first and second round. If Allen returns, he could be the face of the defense with Reuben Foster and the young secondary. Defensive lineman continue to pop out into the NFL every year so if Allen slows down, he could always rebuild his stock. These final games of the season will be key for Allen who will have to make a decision come January.

Draft grade: early mid-second round. Verdict: go to NFL -- for now.

Running back, Derrick Henry.

Derrick Henry has had an incredible year. The Alabama faithful knew what they were getting in Henry when he arrived on campus in 2013, the all-time leading rusher in high school history. However due to TJ Yeldon and his success, Henry always had to play second fiddle in the Alabama offense. Now, in his first season as the full-time starter, Henry has rushed 1797 yards with 22 touchdowns and is averaging 6.1 yards carry on the season while setting new Alabama rushing records. He is a frontrunner for the Heisman trophy and is the leader of the Alabama offense. If he wins the Heisman and Alabama wins the National Championship, there is nothing left for him to prove. Even if Alabama doesn't win, the emergence of Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris should make up for his carries in the upcoming seasons.

Draft grade: late first to early second round. Verdict: go to NFL.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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