CFP National championship preview

January 9, 2017

#1 Alabama (14-0) vs #2 Clemson (13-1); CFP National Championship; Tampa; 8 PM ET; ESPN … The 2017 national championship comes down to replay of last year’s title game in which Alabama outlasted Clemson 45-40 in a thriller. The game may also be about as good as it gets when it comes to previews of the 2017 draft as both teams have plenty of prospects. Indeed, Alabama could have as many as 3-4 top ten picks this coming April. Veteran DE Jonathan Allen, for example, is generally considered to be one of the top two prospects overall in this draft class along with Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett, while MLB Reuben Foster and redshirt sophomore CB Marlon Humphrey are also starting to get some top 5 notice, Meanwhile, junior LT Cam Robinson is the consensus top offensive lineman in this year’s draft, while enigmatic OLB Tim Williams, one of the most explosive edge rusher in the country, could be one of this year’s opening round wild cards as he has top 5-10 physical talent, but there are also character concerns that could literally drop him out of the first round. TE O.J. Howard, who is also rated as one of the 1-2 prospects at his position, could make it an even half dozen players with clear first-round grades, while SS Eddie Jackson, OLB Ryan Anderson, and 5T DE Da’Shawn Hand have top 100 potential. And that isn’t even taking into account a number of other star Alabama players who aren’t even draft eligible including true frosh Jalen Hurts (#2, 6-2, 210), soph RBs Damien Harris (#34, 5-10, 215) and Bo Scarborough (#9, 6-1, 230), soph WR Calvin Ridley (#3, 6-0, 190) and soph safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (#29, 6-1, 205).

For its part, Clemson isn’t quite as deep or talented as Alabama, but has one of the best playing QBs in the country in junior QB DeShaun Watson, who needless to say is going to have a great game for the Tigers to stay with the Tide later this evening.  Meanwhile, QB Watson may not actually be the Tigers’ best prospect for the upcoming draft. That honor could go to his primary target WR Mike Williams, a rangy big-play threat with top 10-15 potential who has made an inspiring comeback from a serious neck injury suffered in the 2015 season opener to lead the team with 84 receptions for almost 1,200 yards and 10 TDs this fall. He combines with junior Artavis Scott and sophomore Hunter Renfrow to give the Tigers as good a wide receiver as any in the country. Throw in rangy TE Jordan Leggett, a second-day candidate for the upcoming draft, and it gets all that more dynamic. At the same time, steady junior RB Wayne Gallman isn’t flashy but keeps the chains moving in the ground game. The Tigers also have a couple of defensive stars with second-day potential in DT Carlos Watkins and CB Cordrea Tankersly, while LB Ben Boulware isn’t the most talented guy out there, but nobody in the country plays harder or smarter. Meanwhile, the Tiger NFL teams would really like to get their hands on is true freshman DT Dexter Lawrence (#90, 6-4, 340), but he won’t be draft eligible until 2019.

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE                                 CLEMSON TIGERS

#74  OT  Cam Robinson, 6-5, 330, JR                          #4  QB  DeShaun Watson, 6-2, 210, JR
#50  OG Alphonse Taylor, 6-5, 345                              #9  RB  Wayne Gallman, 6-0, 215, JR
#88  TE  OJ Howard, 6-5, 245                                       #7  WR Mike Williams, 6-3, 220, JR
#93  DE  Jonathan Allen, 6-3, 295                               #3  WR  Artavis Scott, 5-10, 190, JR
#9  DE  Da’Shawn Hand, 6-3, 280                               #16  TE  Jordan Leggett, 6-5, 255,
#54  DE  Dalvin Tomlinson, 6-3, 305                          #10  LB  Ben Boulware, 5-11, 240
#10  MLB Reuben Foster, 6-1, 240                               #25 CB Cordrea Tankersly, 6-0, 195
#56  LB Tim Williams, 6-3, 240                                    #18 FS  Jadar Johnson, 6-0, 205
#22  LB  Ryan Anderson, 6-2, 255                                #94 DT Carlos Watkin, 6-2, 300
#26  CB  Marlon Humphrey, 6-1, 200, RSO               #57   C  Jay Guillermo, 6-3, 325
#4    SS   Eddie Jackson, 6-0, 195                                  #55 OG Tyrone Crowder, 6-2, 330, JR
#99  PK  Adam Griffith, 5-10, 195
#15   P    JK Scott, 6-5, 200, JR