A mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper this week projected four Alabama players to go in the first round in April.
And so it begins…. pic.twitter.com/WgkNpnMBIR
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 18, 2018
Kiper projects defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the New York Jets with the sixth overall pick. Fitzpatrick is the top cornerback and safety in the draft, according to Kiper. He was the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the best defensive back in college football this season.
With Mitch Trubisky in need of offensive weapons, Kiper has wide receiver Calvin Ridley projected to go eight to the Chicago Bears. Ridley has the second-most receptions of any player in Alabama history.
Da’Ron Payne is projected by Kiper to go 17th overall to the Los Angeles Chargers. Kiper called Payne the best nose tackle in the class. Payne was named Alabama’s defensive MVP of both the Sugar Bowl and the national championship game.
Rashaan Evans projects as the fourth Alabama player going in Kiper’s mock draft. He would be the third inside linebacker off the board. The Pittsburgh Steelers could be in need of a linebacker, with the future of Ryan Shazier currently in question. Evans was tied for the team lead with 74 tackles this season.
Fitzpatrick, Ridley and Payne are juniors that declared for the draft with one-year of eligibility left. Evans is the lone Alabama senior projected to go in round one.
The 2018 NFL draft will be held on April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.