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Alabama football: 3 early Crimson Tide 2023 NFL Draft prospects with first-round potential

Alabama Football, 2023 NFL Draft, Alabama Football roster, Alabama NFL Draft, Alabama 2023 NFL Draft

The Alabama Crimson Tide are one of the most dominant teams in all of sports. Nick Saban’s group has six national titles and nine championship appearances in the last 13 years. Alabama football is just that good, but this post is specifically about Crimson Tide NFL Draft prospects.

Alabama is not only dominant at the college level, but the NFL level as well. The Crimson Tide are simply an NFL factory, producing multiple first round picks year after year. Evan Neal and Jameson Williams were the only first-round picks in 2022, but Alabama produced a staggering six first-round selections in 2021.

The Crimson Tide are the odds-on favorites to win the national title once again in 2022. Naturally, the roster is overflowing with future NFL talent, as it is every year. Many Alabama football players have first-round potential, but these three are almost locks to go early in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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Alabama Football 2023 NFL Draft Prospects

3. Eli Ricks

Ricks transferred to Alabama from LSU following the 2021 season. The ball-hawking corner adds another weapon to an already-loaded Alabama secondary.

Ricks played in eight games for the Tigers as a freshman in 2020. He broke up five passes and intercepted four, returning two of them for touchdowns. He earned second-team All-SEC and third-team All-America honors for his outstanding season.

Unfortunately for Ricks, a shoulder injury cut his season short halfway through. In six games in 2021, he only broke up one pass and intercepted another. He entered the transfer portal in November, shortly after LSU head coach Ed Orgeron announced his resignation.

Ricks could bounce back in a big way with the Crimson Tide this season. He already has the intangibles of a great corner, being 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds. If he can prove he’s still got it after his season-ending injury, he’ll hear his name called very early at next year’s draft.

2. Bryce Young

Young lit up opposing defenses in 2021, his first season as a starter. The sophomore from Pasadena, California set single-season school records with 4,872 passing yards and 47 touchdowns. He won the Heisman Trophy in December, becoming the fourth Alabama player to win the award under Saban.

Young figures to have another incredible season in 2022. He has the second-highest odds to win the Heisman and to go No. 1 overall in the draft, both behind Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.

While Alabama football lost its top two receivers in Williams and John Metchie III, other players appear poised to step up. Wide receiver Jermaine Burton and tight end Cameron Latu both earned preseason All-SEC selections. Young will have no shortage of high-end talent to throw to this season.

The two Alabama quarterbacks before Young, Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa, both became first-round selections in recent years. Young is already shattering their records at Alabama, and could end up as the best NFL player of the three as well.

1. Will Anderson Jr. 

Anderson has all the makings of a star edge rusher in the NFL. He’s huge at 6-foot-4 and 243 pounds and he posted the most sacks in the country with 17.5 last season. He took home the Bronco Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in college football last year.

Anderson is so dominant on the defensive line that he’s even receiving Heisman talk. He currently has the fourth-highest odds to win the award, only trailing Stroud, Young and USC’s Caleb Williams. Keep in mind, a defensive player hasn’t won the award since Charles Woodson in 1997.

Anderson has the third-highest odds to go No. 1 overall in April, behind only Stroud and Young. Barring injury, Anderson should hear his name called very early at the 2023 NFL Draft, which would bode well for Alabama football.