'06 NFL Draft Watch: Alabama

The Crimson Tide hopes to improve from last season's minor bowl game and become a contender in the western division of the SEC. The roster possesses several solid NFL prospects who could potentially make a move up draft boards with good campaigns this season.

Scouting the SEC: Alabama 

Both Alabama and NFL scouts hope oft-injured quarterback Brodie Croyle returns from the torn knee which kept him on the sidelines most of last season. Technically sound, Croyle is a tough signal caller who buys time in the pocket and nicely places passes. Putting touch on throws when necessary, Croyle and has been very accurate with his passes. Lacking size as well as durability he needs a knock out senior season then good showings prior to April's draft in order to move into the middle frames.

Running back Kenneth Darby is a solid interior runner who finds the cutback lanes and weaves through the traffic on the inside. Patient, he waits for blocks to develop and has a burst through the hole. Running with an upright style, Darby lacks open field speed. Off-season hernia surgery will send up red flags but scouts are interested in watching Darby the next two years.

Center J.B. Closner is a hard working blocker with outstanding explosion at the point of attack. Displaying great quickness throughout his game, Closner gets movement from run blocks and attacks assignments. Lacking adjustment, he has difficulty handling speedy opponents. Offering growth potential the senior is a solid late round selection next April and possible developmental player.

The Tides top prospect on the offensive side of the ball could well be a junior right tackle Kyle Tatum. Possessing great height and excellent growth potential, Tatum plays with leverage keeping his pads low to the ground and effectively holds the point in pass protection. Blocking down on opponents, he works hard throughout the action and displays strength, controlling defenders once engaged in a block. Lacking adjustment he best in confined quarters yet has terrific potential for the next level.

The defensive strength wrests in the back seven. Outside linebacker DeMeco Ryans is a terrific athlete who displays range and the ability to make plays sideline to sideline. Rarely off his feet Ryans is effective in pass coverage and also quickly fills gaps in run defense. Not strong at the point or an aggressive defender, Ryans is swallowed-up by blocks and has tackles broken. He also does not display great instincts in pass coverage. Highly rated by a few, we feel Ryans is a solid prospect in the latter part of the draft's first day.

Early in his career linebacker Freddie Roach looked like a star in the making but mediocre play and several position changes have scouts wondering about his future at the next level. An effective run defender, Roach quickly locates the ball and scrapes to the sidelines in search of the ball handler. Slow getting off blocks, inconsistent play has been Roach's biggest problem and he presently sits as a late round pick next year.

Alabama has a pair of safeties to keep an eye on. Roman Harper offers solid defensive back techniques as well as ball skills. Quickly diagnosing the action, Harper flows to the play and takes good angles in run support. Consistently keeping the play in front of him, Harper does not display great playing speed or the ability to recover. He does offer solid size and has potential as either a dime back or zone safety in the NFL. Charlie Peprah is also a disciplined defensive back who effectively diagnoses the action. Peprah does not stand out in any single aspect of the game and looks like a backup at the next level. Keep an eye on senior end Mark Anderson, an undersized yet explosive athlete who can rush the passer or be used in space.

Cornerback Anthony Madison could get looks late in the draft with a solid senior campaign.

Alabama Prospect List

Name Number Pos Year
Mark Anderson 47 DE 5Sr
J.B. Closner 74 C 5Sr
Brodie Croyle 12 QB 4Sr
Kenneth Darby 34 RB 4Jr
Roman Harper 41 S 5Sr
Anthony Madison 9 CB 5Sr
Charlie Peprah 26 S 5Sr
Freddie Roach 8 ILB 5Sr
DeMeco Ryans 35 OLB 4Sr
Kyle Tatum 58 T 4Jr

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