Schedule: Feb. 26-March 4, times vary by day
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
TV: NFL Network
Radio: 102.9 FM
Most job interviews aren’t broadcast on live TV. Most job interviews also don’t include 40-yard sprints bench pressing, either.
The 11 Alabama players headed to Indianapolis this week and next aren’t interviewing for most jobs, though. They’re working toward their dream of becoming NFL players. That includes an appearance at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Some Alabama players have already established themselves as potential stars. Others can use this week to turn some heads during the draft process.
“A guy that’s going to be interesting is (outside linebacker Christian) Miller,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “We’ll see what happens with him. How’s he going to move around, how’s he going to test. I know one thing: He is tall, he’s long. You see him as a rusher. He’s got great hands. He can finish. He’s a little bit stiff in coverage. That’s one of those things if you’re a team looking at him as an outside linebacker, you want to see how does he do going through those drills. Can he change direction? Can he show you a little more fluid? That can be something he can prove that could really help himself in that department.”
Alabama was tied with Clemson with 11 players invited to the combine, most of any school in the nation. Defensive back Deionte Thompson won’t participate in workouts after a minor surgery, according to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Running back Josh Jacobs is also expected to be limited while he deals with a groin injury.
Jacobs, along with defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, are considered to be among the draft’s top prospects. Offensive lineman Jonah Williams could also be a first-round pick, though some teams may also be considering moving him from tackle to guard or center.
“I think he has a chance to be special inside,” Jeremiah said. “I think, to me, that’s where he fits best. Some of his length issues, he’s not a real long guy, showed up in the Clemson game this year, showed up in the Clemson game last year, where guys kind of get into his chest and he struggles a little bit on the edge. So I like him kicking inside. He is a dominating run blocker. You’re talking about somebody who can get his hands on people, work up to the second level, combo block, he’s instinctive, he runs his feet on contact.”
The combine isn’t just about drills and physical evaluation, though that’s what is most prominent on the television broadcast. Players also undergo physical evaluations from medical staffs and spend time meeting and interviewing with teams. It can make for long, grueling days before heading back to a hotel room.
But it’s also an opportunity for players to show what they can do. Linebacker Mack Wilson is one of those who could solidify himself with a strong showing this weekend, Jeremiah said.
“I thought his play kind of trailed off down the year at the end of the year,” Jeremiah said. “He’s somebody that has all the athletic ability in the world. We’ll see at the combine, can he have a great workout and kind of try to recapture a little bit of momentum I think he might have lost there at the end of the year.”
UA players invited
Alabama players invited to the NFL combine (in alphabetical order):
DL Isaiah Buggs
RB Damien Harris
RB Josh Jacobs
OLB Christian Miller
OL Ross Pierschbacher
TE Irv Smith Jr.
CB Saivion Smith
S Deionte Thompson
OL Jonah Williams
DL Quinnen Williams
LB Mack Wilson