BBD Writer Eric Samulski
Notre Dame came out of nowhere to find themselves in the National Championship game. Their offense has been suspect all year, with Everett Golson bringing big-play ability, while also being very turnover prone. However, Notre Dame has scrapped by with solid and aggressive defense, similar to their counterpart on Monday. Alabama has had one of the nation’s toughest defenses every since Nick Saban come back to college football and constantly play fast and hard-hitting football games. They also compliment this with a similarly physical running game a methodical passing attack led by a maturing McCarron. That will be the difference in Monday’s game. Although both teams have solid defenses, Alabama has a more well-rounded and less turnover-prone offensive game, which will keep them in front until their defense can force a desperate Notre Dame offense to make mistakes late.
Manti Te’o ILB 6’2” 255 Senior
Most people know everything there is to know about Te’o, so there’s not much to add. He’s an exceptionally instinctive linebacker who can make plays in run support and in coverage. He’s a fiery competitor and a true leader both on and off the field. He would be ideal choice for the Bills to help fix the defense.
Tyler Eifert TE 6’5” 250 Senior
It’s been a while since the Bills had a true threat and tight end and that’s exactly what Eifert is. A big, athletic pass-catcher, Eifert has tremendous hands and catches the ball in traffic very well. He has above average body control for a guy his size and has improved as a blocker every year. He’s a likely first round selection and probably the first tight end off the board.
Bennett Jackson CB 6’0” 185 Junior
Jackson has really come on strong this year, proving to be a gifted corner. Blessed with good size, Jackson can be very physical at the point of contact and has been able to turn in some big plays in coverage. He’s a bit of a late bloomer, so scouts have to see whether they think the trend can continue, but he’s proving to be a very solid draft prospect.
Zeke Motta FS 6’2” 215 Senior
Braxston Cave C 6’3” 305 Senior
Theo Riddick RB 5’11” 200 Senior
Cierre Wood RB 6’0” 215 Junior
Zack Martin OT 6’4” 305 Junior
Prince Shembo OLB 6’2” 250 Junior
Dee Milliner CB 6’1” 200 Junior
My favorite prospect in the draft, Milliner is an extremely physical corner who is just as effective in run support as he is in coverage. He has no problems coming up and laying the lumber on ball carriers, and it’s difficult for receivers to completely shed him because of the way he uses his hands and body for leverage. He may not have Patrick Peterson’s athleticism, but he has the skills and aggressiveness to be a shutdown corner.
Nico Johnson ILB 6’2” 245 Senior
A tough, physical player, Johnson is the definition of a downhill linebacker. He’s a bit stiff in the hips and not at his best in coverage, but he’s a sure wrap-up tackler and a calming presence in the middle of the defense. He’s been asked to do many different things during his time in Alabama and his play recognition skills have improved each season. However, he’s probably best served as an ILB in a 3-4 because it would require him to run sideline-to-sideline as much.
Robert Lester SS 6’2” 210 Senior
An unheralded member of the defense, Lester has a chance to be a very good NFL safety. He has good size/speed combination and often runs 40 times around 4.5. He sometimes overplays runs when he comes up to the line of scrimmage, but he’s also an above-average cover safety who has a knack for making big plays.
C.J. Mosley OLB 6’2” 230 Junior
Chance Warmack OG 6’2” 320 Senior
Jesse Williams DT 6’3” 320 Senior
A.J. McCarron QB 6’3” 210 Junior
Barrett Jones OG 6’4” 305 Senior
DJ Fluker OT 6’6” 335 Junior
Eddie Lacy RB 5’10” 220 Junior
Michael Williams TE 6’5” 270 Senior
Quinten Dial DE 6’5” 300 Senior
Deion Belue CB 5’11” 180 Junior
Prediction: Alabama 24 Notre Dame 9