Four seems to be the lucky number when it comes to Alabama players taken in the first round, according to various mock drafts.
Last week, there was a consensus of Minkah Fitzpatrick going to the Cleveland Browns at the fourth pick. This week, he has fallen in three of the four mocks. A good reminder to take mock drafts with a grain of salt this far out from the NFL draft.
Fitzpatrick is still the first Alabama player expected off the board. CBS Sports mock is the lone draft that still sees the cornerback/safety going to the Browns at four.
NFL.com projects Fitzpatrick to the Denver Broncos, in a situation where the Broncos land free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins. ESPN’s Todd McShay pegs Fitzpatrick seventh to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a defense that ranked 31st in total points in 2017. Bleacher Report has the lowest projection for Fitzpatrick, with him going ninth to the San Francisco 49ers, where he would join former teammate Rueben Foster.
ESPN and CBS Sports both send wide receiver Calvin Ridley to the Chicago Bears with the eighth pick. NFL.com sees Ridley joining forces with the recently acquired quarterback Alex Smith with the Washington Redskins at No. 13. Bleacher Report strays from the crowd and pegs Ridley down at 25th pick to the Tennessee Titans, where Ridley would reunite with running back Derrick Henry.
Linebacker Rashaan Evans is the third and final Alabama player all four mock drafts have going in the first round. Both CBS and ESPN project Evans to the Buffalo Bills, with ESPN pegging him at 21 and CBS at 22. Both NFL.com and Bleacher Report peg Evans 28th to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Evans would likely be seen as a long-term replacement for Ryan Shazier.
Bleacher Report is the lone mock draft that does not have defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne as a first round pick. CBS Sports is the highest on Payne, projecting him 13th to the Redskins, while NFL.com has Evans to the Dallas Cowboys at 19. ESPN predicts the Bills will double-dip the Alabama defense, picking Evans and Payne back-to-back.
CBS Sports had safety Ronnie Harrison as a first round pick last week, but he falls out of that this week. NFL.com pegs him as a mid-second round pick. NFL.com also has Da’Shawn Hand as a second round pick.
The 2018 NFL draft will be held on April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.