Will Anderson Jr., Bryce Young among Alabama football's top 2023 NFL Draft prospects
The Crimson Tide is sure to have another double-digit list of draft-eligible players for next year's draft, and there are some headliners who should be first- or second-day picks if they can build on the performances they had in 2021.
Some surprises could emerge over the course of the season, but here's a look at some of the top names for Alabama football heading into the 2022 season, should they choose to declare.
Will Anderson Jr., edge
If he could have declared this year, he might have been the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Instead, Anderson is back for his junior season. If he puts together a similar season as 2021, he will be in contention for the No. 1 overall pick.
Bryce Young, quarterback
After winning the Heisman Trophy, Young also would have likely been a top pick in this year's draft. Good quarterbacks usually rocket up draft boards, and this year's group didn't have many. Only one was drafted in the first round — Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, whom Young beat out for the Heisman. Quarterback will likely be a bit more crowded at the top of the 2023 class. Still, Young figures to have a good shot at being a top draft pick with another strong season.
Jordan Battle, safety
He decided to stay for his senior season and get his degree in December, but Battle figures to have a good shot at being drafted in the first three rounds next year. He probably would have been at least a Day 2 pick this year, so if he can fine-tune his game even more in his senior season, Battle could be a first-round pick in 2023. He had three interceptions and 84 tackles for Alabama in 2021.
If fellow safety DeMarcco Hellams can stay healthy, he's another player to watch come time for the draft.
Henry To'oTo'o, linebacker
The former Tennessee transfer decided to take a second year with Alabama's defense, and that could pay off for his draft stock. He led the Crimson Tide with 112 total tackles in his first season in Tuscaloosa.
MORE ALABAMA FOOTBALL:Alabama football ties college football record in 2022 NFL Draft with Evan Neal pick
15 YEARS OF NICK SABAN:Celebrate Nick Saban's 15 epic seasons at Alabama football with our special book!
Alabama has a number of candidates who could experience a similar jump as Phidarian Mathis with a strong final season. Mathis leveraged that into becoming a second-round draft pick this year.
Some of the seniors at the position include DJ Dale, Byron Young and Justin Eboigbe. They will each be worth watching in 2022 to see who best helps his draft stock.
Jameson Williams proved that a player can come to Alabama for a year and become a top draft pick. Even with an ACL tear, he went No. 12 overall to the Detroit Lions.
The Crimson Tide could have more join him with five transfers this season in Jahmyr Gibbs, Eli Ricks, Tyler Steen, Tyler Harrell and Jermaine Burton.
Turn in a strong debut season for Alabama, and more than one of these transfers might be high-round draft picks in 2023.
Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly