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Alabama football is known for winning championships and producing NFL-caliber players that find their way to teams via the annual draft. This past 2022 draft proved to follow the trend of previous drafts by having multiple former members of the Crimson Tide being taken off the board in the first round and even more being selected in later rounds.
In the upcoming 2023 season, Alabama will return many key players that could prove to be early-round selections in next year’s draft.
ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper seemingly agrees, as his first 2023 Big Board was released. In total, 12 Alabama players make the cut in his top-25 players for the draft and early positional rankings of eligible players.
Here’s where they rank when compared to other talented players from across the nation, according to Kiper.
Bryce Young, QB (No. 1 QB, No. 2 OVR)
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Kiper has Bryce Young listed as the second-best all-around player on his big board and includes the Heisman-winning quarterback at the top of his QB rankings.
Will Anderson, LB (No. 1 DE, No. 1 OVR)
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On Kiper’s Big Board, Anderson ranks as the first overall player ahead of Young and is listed as the top defensive end in the class
Eli Ricks, CB (No. 1 CB, No. 8 OVR)
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Eli Ricks lands inside the top-10 for overall players, according to Kiper, and sits as the top cornerback in the draft class. The first transfer for the Crimson Tide on this list. Ricks joins Alabama as a transfer after originally playing for LSU.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB (No. 2 RB)
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Jahmyr Gibbs is joining the Crimson Tide via the transfer portal after beginning his career at Georgia Tech. Kiper has Gibbs listed as the No. 2 running back in the draft class, behind only Texas‘ Bijan Robinson.
Tyler Harrell, WR (No 5 WR)
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Harrell is another member of the Crimson Tide that joined via the transfer portal. He originally played for Louisville, but will likely only spend a season in Tuscaloosa, as Kiper has him high on his last as the No. 5 wide receiver in the 2023 draft class.
Jermaine Burton, WR (No. 9 WR)
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If you thought there wasn’t going to be another transfer on this list, you were wrong (and he’s not the last one either). Burton joined Alabama after defeating the Crimson Tide in the national championship game last season as a member of Georgia‘s receiving corps.
Cameron Latu, TE (No. 6 TE)
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Latu exploded onto the scene in 2021, stepping up when Jahleel Billingsley wasn’t on the field. He’s expected to play a larger role in 2022, and Kiper thinks that will catapult him into the national conversation.
Javion Cohen, G (No. 7 G)
(AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Yet another Alabama offensive lineman ranked nationally. Cohen is now a veteran presence on the line. Though interior offensive linemen don’t get talked about a lot, Cohen’s abilities may change that.
Byron Young, DE (No. 7 DE)
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Young is a name that fans may not be all too familiar with now, but when the season starts he will accumulate plenty of attention. Playing alongside one of the nation’s best defensive ends in Will Anderson will only lead to more opportunities for Young.
Henry To'oTo'o, ILB (No. 3 ILB)
(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
To’oTo’o is expected to step up in a major way in 2022. After joining Alabama before the 2021 season via the transfer portal from Tennessee, he should now be acclimated to the Crimson Tide style of defense.
Jordan Battle, S (No. 3 S)
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Battle is another veteran on this team that is not just going to be a presence on the field during games, but on the practice field and in the locker room as a leader. Battle’s draft stock has skyrocketed in the past few months.
DeMarcco Hellams, S (No. 7 S)
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Hellams joins Battle on this list, meaning the Crimson Tide secondary consists of two projected top-10 safeties in the nation. Ranking at No. 7 before the season starts is quite a feat, but with solid performances, he can only go up.