Are you pumped up for the 2018 NFL Draft on WBRC FOX6? The fun starts Thursday ay 7 p.m. CT and returns Friday at 6 p.m.! Fox will air the first round of the draft on Thursday and then follow it up with ensuing rounds on Friday. So then, what do you need to know before you pick up your remote? From where I stand, you will see as many as 10 former Bama players drafted before the weekend is over, a half a dozen former Auburn players, and yes, UAB and Jacksonville State will be represented too!
While big names such as Minkah, Calvin, Da’Ron and Rashaan will dominate the headlines on Thursday, I hope you keep an eye on the underdogs - you know, the athletes who may be an afterthought to some but will soon land on an NFL roster. May I present three players who deserve more attention than they have received, and they represent the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Auburn Tigers and the UAB Blazers?
Levi Wallace, Cornerback, Alabama
“Wait a minute,” you say, “a former walk-on is actually going to make it in the NFL?” Not only will the pride of Tucson, AZ make it in the NFL, he may go as high as the third round! Wallace lacks world-class speed and strength, but he possesses a great knowledge of the game, and his ball skills will provide an NFL team with a strong cornerback. When you play at Alabama and you total 48 tackles, two sacks and 15 pass break-ups your senior season, the NFL people stand up and take notice. A mere 6-feet, 170 pounds, Wallace is a ferocious hitter and never afraid to sacrifice his body. Wallace has heard it all his life: He’s too slow, too small, not athletic enough. Just you wait: Levi Wallace will be playing in the NFL this fall.
And if you are counting: You will need two hands to count all of the former Bama players wo will be called this weekend. Among them: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Calvin Ridley, Da’Ron Payne, Rashaan Evans, Ronnie Harrison, Anthony Averette, Da’Shawn Hand and Bo Scarbrough - and I’m just warming up.
Austin Golson, Offensive Lineman, Auburn
This pride of Prattville could use some more NFL Draft love, because when he is finally chosen between the fifth and seventh rounds. The big guy will provide a team with a reliable and versatile back-up. Golson began his collegiate career at Ole Miss, and when he found himself at Auburn he would soon play tackle - or was it guard, or center? Last season, Golson was a superb center and played lights out against Georgia and Alabama. NFL scouts like Austin’s versatility and toughness, and after running a 5.22 40 as 295-pounder, the NFL folks were intrigued. The next few weeks in Austin’s life are huge: He will be waiting for a phone call and a baby. Yep, his wife is expecting a baby girl on May 1.
And if you are counting: A slew of former Auburn stars will be drafted this weekend, as Kerryon Johnson and Carlton Davis could be taken in the first round. Others to watch? Jeff Holland, Kam Pettway, Braden Smith, Daniel Carlson and many more.
Darious Williams, Cornerback, UAB
Never heard of him? Then you’re not paying close enough attention. The native of Jacksonville, Fla. is one of the top cornerbacks in the draft. While he may lack the size of a Carlton Davis (Auburn), his testing has been off the charts. A mere 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Williams ran a 4.4 40 at UAB Pro Day, which would have placed him 9th among cornerbacks a the NFL Combine. His sensational vertical jump of 40 inches would have placed him 2nd among cornerbacks at the Combine, and his rating of 93.4 would also have placed him second in Indianapolis. This past season, Williams had a whopping 50 tackles, 15 pass break-ups and five interceptions. Scouts love his ball-hawking skills and his nose for the football. Remember the name Darious Williams, because he is just that good.
And if you are counting: Former Blazer players such as Shaq Jones, Tevin Crews and Teko Powell have their fingers crossed.
I hope you enjoy the NFL Draft on WBRC FOX6, As you watch Minkah, Calvin and crew take center stage Thursday night, don’t forget about some of the unsung heroes who are working hard to insure that their next steps in life are big ones. We’re rooting for every one of them!
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