The vaunted Alabama defense was praised by Big Blue View’s Chris Pflum, who sent a strong message on the Crimson Tide’s ability to develop defensive draft prospects throughout the years.
“The University of Alabama has been a one-stop shop for NFL defenses for years now, and the 2023 NFL Draft is no different,” Pflum wrote. “The Crimson Tide have players at all three levels of their defense that will help NFL teams in 2023.”
In 2023, Alabama has nine prospects eligible to be drafted (Will Anderson Jr., Brian Branch, Jordan Battle, Eli Ricks, Henry To’oTo’o, Byron Young, DJ Dale, DeMarcco Hellams, Jaylen Moody). Three players (Phidarian Mathis, Christian Harris, Jalyn Armour-Davis) were selected on the defensive side of the ball in 2022.
Alabama Prospect Has ‘Ideal Size For a Safety’
Pflum has a positive outlook on safety prospect Jordan Battle — who the Big Blue View writer named to the “All-Name Team” –, crediting him for having “ideal size for a safety” and noting his various elite physical attributes that have him projected to be taken on the second day of the NFL draft.
“Battle has ideal size for a safety at 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, while maintaining solid athleticism,” Pflum wrote. “He is also a very experienced defender, having played in 52 games across his four-year career at Alabama. Unsurprisingly, Battle is also a very smart safety and a very active communicator both before and after the snap. He consistently helped to line up his teammates and called out aspects of the offensive play before the snap. He has the size to play close to the line of scrimmage, as well as enough athleticism to man a deep half or third as a free safety. Interestingly, Battle primarily played the deep middle in Alabama’s defense. He also helped to execute post-snap coverage rotations, moving from a deep half to the centerfield while another DB would rotate closer to the line of scrimmage. He’s a reliable safety in zone coverage, with enough size to match up with tight ends or running backs, and the athleticism to get to the catch point against a receiver. He has a very good closing burst and is quite disruptive at the catch point. His alignment didn’t put him in position to come away with many interceptions, but he’s capable of knocking the ball away when coming downhill.”
Battle is the No. 75 overall 2023 NFL draft prospect according to NFL Draft Buzz.
Unknown Whether Panthers Prefer CJ Stroud to Bryce Young
It’s unclear at this point whether or not the Panthers prefer Ohio State CJ Stroud according to ESPN’s David Newton.
“Unknown is whether the early buzz that Reich might prefer the bigger Stroud over Young was a smokescreen or whether concerns over Young’s size and durability (despite starting 27 of a possible 28 games over the past two seasons) really will be the deciding factor for Carolina,” Newton wrote.
Either way, Carolina acquired the No. 1 overall selection with the intention of taking a quarterback.
“What is known, according to front office sources with knowledge of the situation, is the Panthers traded from No. 9 to No. 1 with the intent of drafting Young or Stroud, even though publicly, team officials have included Florida’s Anthony Richardson and Kentucky’s Will Levis in the mix,” Newton wrote. “General manager Scott Fitterer and Reich — and everyone else involved in the Panthers’ process — say they are on the same page and don’t anticipate a dispute with the final decision.”