The 2016 NFL Draft has defenders of all shapes and sizes. Every so often comes along a player could have played a few decades ago; that guy is former Bama backer Reggie Ragland. His physical, no-nonsense style will translate to the modern-day game as well. I reviewed his 2015 performances against Wisconsin, Georgia, Texas A&M, Clemson, and his Senior Bowl game and practices to get a better understanding of the skill set this young backer will bring to the next level. This is what I saw:
Tag Archives: Alabama
In the coming months, potential NFL rookies will get put under a microscope for what they do on and off the field. Alabama’s Kenyan Drake had a spectacular kickoff return for a touchdown in the National Championship Game that will always be remembered. Unfortunately, that play doesn’t tell the entire story about the back. He has some major injury and character concerns to overcome. I reviewed his games against Wisconsin, Florida (2014 and 2015), Michigan State, Clemson, Ole Miss (2013), and the Senior Bowl (televised practices and game) to get a better handle on what he brings to the next level.
One of the shallowest positions in this year’s draft is at safety. My top player is Alabama’s Landon Collins who might be the only one taken within the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, and might be the only safety worth drafting for your dynasty teams. I reviewed three of his games against Florida, Mississippi State, and Auburn to get a handle of the skills and attributes he brings to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
S Landon Collins, Alabama, 6’ 228 lbs.
Cons: At his current weight of 228 pounds, he might be a little too bulky and muscle-bound to play either safety position in the NFL. Collins will most likely play the strong safety position due to his physical style of play. The defender gets very hands in pass coverage and can over-react to fakes on occasion. He does make quite a few tackles on his back. While it is great that he continues to play even when on the ground, Collins needs to keep better balance and shed blockers a bit quicker to get to the ball carrier.
There is nothing more elusive than what are Alabama backs chances at the next level. Many reports state that the Crimson Tide beats the daylight out of their players with overly tough, physical practices leaving them more subject to injury in later years. Do we look at first round bust, Trent Richardson and current Raider, for proof of this theory, or should we consider the Packers Eddie Lacy who appears to have adjusted well to the NFL? I say we take both backs’ experiences and throw in TJ Yeldon’s game tape to get a full picture. After reviewing four of his games against Auburn, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma, here are the skills that he brings to the NFL.
RB TJ Yeldon, Alabama 6’ 1” 226 lbs.
Cons: The first thing that jumped out on tape was his explosion declined from 2013 to 2014. It looks like the excessive college touches/hard practices, etc. took their toll on him. The back is an upright runner that has stiffer hips than I expected. Yeldon doesn’t have a lot of wiggle and cannot create separation on his own. His offensive line is responsible for a solid part of his production and the runner might be too patient waiting for holes to develop. He needs to make quicker decisions, lower his pads, and run through defenders; instead of letting the defense dictate his approach. As a receiver, the back lets the ball too much into his body instead of catches it cleanly and in stride.