Four key Alabama underclassmen are heading to the 2021 NFL draft.
Defensive lineman Christian Barmore, quarterback Mac Jones, defensive back Patrick Surtain II and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle all announced Thursday that they were leaving school. Their announcements come three days after Alabama capped a 13-0 season with a national championship win over Ohio State.
Jones put himself in the first-round conversation with a stellar redshirt junior season in 2020. He was 311-of-402 passing for 4,500 yards and 41 TDs to just four interceptions in his only season as a full-time starter. Jones had just two games all season where he completed less than 70 percent of his passes and didn’t have a multi-interception game all season.
Jones was 26-of-45 for 464 yards and five touchdowns in the victory over Ohio State. He first assumed the role of Alabama’s starter near the end of the 2019 season when Tua Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury against Mississippi State.
While Jones won’t be at the top of the quarterback list for the 2021 draft with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson, he will likely be seen as an option for teams picking in the back half of the first round.
Waddle returned for the national championship game and had three catches for 34 yards despite a noticeable limp. He missed seven games after suffering a broken ankle while returning the opening kickoff against Tennessee.
In six games, Waddle had 28 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns. He was considered by many to be equal to Heisman winner DeVonta Smith at receiver while the two players were healthy. As a sophomore in 2019, Waddle had 33 catches for 560 yards and six touchdowns. His most productive season came as a freshman when he had 45 catches for 848 yards and seven touchdowns. He’ll also be seen as a likely first-round pick.
Christian Barmore was defensive MVP of title game
Both of the star defensive players who declared for the draft Thursday will be possible first-round picks too.
Barmore and Surtain were two of the most dominant members of Alabama’s defense. Barmore’s performance against Ohio State on Monday night was so good that he was named the defensive player of the game.
The redshirt sophomore had five tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. His tackle for loss on an Ohio State fourth-down conversion attempt snuffed any realistic chances the Buckeyes had of winning the game.
Surtain is the son of the former NFL cornerback of the same name. He had 37 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in 2020 with an interception that he returned for 25 yards and a TD against Mississippi State. Few teams dared throw in Surtain’s direction throughout the season and he ended the season with at least one pass defensed in five straight games.
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