Scouting The Allstate Sugar Bowl
By Ken Scudero
Alabama almost made it back to the BCS Championship game yet again, but a miracle in Auburn prevented that from happening. So, 'Bama and all its eight draft prospects will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma. The Sooners don't have quite as many pro-ready players, but with a handful of draft prospects, they sure aren't lacking in that area. Alabama has a few guys who will go in the first two rounds and others who could possibly slip. Oklahoma has some solid prospects who could be taken in the middle of the draft but may prove more valuable over time.
Deion Belue, CB
Belue has been a solid corner for Alabama. Belue has good speed but just average cover skills. You can't teach instincts, and not that Belue has none, he just isn't as impressive as other corner prospects this season. Look for him to go in the 4th round.
Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, SS
Clinton-Dix is the best safety prospect in the draft with his size, speed and ball-hawk skills. He reads the quarterback well and pounces on plays consistently, disrupting receivers trying to make catches and ballcarriers alike. He should be a late first-round pick.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT
Kouandjio says he is "50-50" between entering the draft or staying in school another season. He's 6-foot-6, 310 pounds and created holes for 227.5 rushing yards per game in 2012 and 207.5 rushing yards per game this season. Along with the rest of the Alabama line, Kouandjio only allowed 1.5 sacks this season on AJ McCarron. If he enters the draft, he could be a first round pick.
AJ McCarron, QB
McCarron is one of the most interesting and puzzling prospects in this draft. He can make all the NFL throws, his football IQ is off the charts, and he rarely turns the ball over. However, he has had the best offensive line in the country throughout his career, he hands the ball off to first-round running backs, and he has pretty good receivers getting wide open for him as well. When pressured in the Iron Bowl, McCarron didn't look as great as he usually does. He has the size and smart decision-making to be a franchise QB on paper, but he's yet to prove he can do it without being surrounded by All-Americans. Expect him to be taken late 2nd/early 3rd round of the draft.
CJ Mosley, ILB
Mosley reminds me a lot of Patrick Willis, a stout linebacker with leadership qualities right in the center of the field. Mosley is a traditional-style linebacker who reads plays well, disrupts them, and has the speed to chase down ballcarriers. He's a complete player with intangible qualities and superb tackling ability. He is the best middle linebacker available and should be selected in the middle of the first round.
Kevin Norwood, WR
Norwood has been Mr. Reliable, McCarron’s security blanket. He won’t blow you away with his speed but he’s got great hands, makes every catch he needs to make and is versatile in his route running. He is the quintessential receiver every team needs. Even though he isn’t the fastest nor the biggest receiver available, he will be recognized for his ability to do a lot of things very well. He's a 3rd-4th rounder.
Ed Stinson, DE
Stinson is a solid defensive end with great size and average speed at best. I see him more of an interior lineman than an end since teams are opting for leaner, fast guys rushing off the edge. Stinson can sack the quarterback and stuff the run as well, and he can go as early as the third round.
Aaron Colvin, CB
Colvin is a speedy corner who can cover a team's two best receivers. His play recognition is good, allowing him to cheat forward and stuff runs to the outside behind the line of scrimmage. He has good footwork and may go early in the third round.
Gabe Ikard, C
Ikard is a redshirt senior who has started in all four years of his career. He's been recognized as one of the best centers in the nation and was a semifinalist for the Rimington Trophy this season. He won the Wuerffel Trophy, the Selmon Spirit Award and the Don Key Award for his outstanding play. He's one of the five best centers available in the draft and should be taken somewhere in the middle of it all.
Jalen Saunders, WR
Saunders is one of the smallest receivers in the draft at 5-9, 157. He's put together a great career at Oklahoma, with 198 catches, 3,010 yards and 29 total TDs. He's a great punt returner and definitely will be used as one at the next level, as well as a third or fourth receiver in the middle of the field. Saunders has excellent hands and speed and has great value in the 5th round.