Born: 9/14/1991 Millbrook, Alabama Years in College: 3
INTs: 6 Fumble Recoveries: 1
Tackles: 136 Sacks: 1.5
Overview: Milliner’s size and ball-hawk mentality are ideal for today’s NFL scouts. Milliner shone in the giant talent “Tide”-pool that was the SEC this year, with a conference-high 22 passes defensed. Some scouts worry of Milliner’s limited starting experience. This past season was his first as a starter in every contest, but he did see action in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2010, and in all 13 games in his sophomore year. Given the Crimson Tide’s recent dominance in the cornerback position, it is understandable why Milliner did not step up to the full starting role until 2012.
Projected Team and Round: Although a sure first-rounder, where in the round Milliner will go remains a debate as April approaches. Some say he’ll be gone within the Top-5, even as early as number three to the Oakland Raiders. The 30th ranked Raider defense could certainly use a talent like Milliner’s in the backfield, although they’ll most likely be looking to replace free agent DE Matt Shaughnessy. I’d be shocked if he fell out of the Top-10, the Tennessee Titans need help in their backfield and if Milliner is still there by the time their #10 pick is on the clock, they’ll take him.
Born: 5/25/1990 Memphis, Tennessee Years in College: 4
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 311lbs
Overview: By far the most versatile lineman in this year’s draft class, Jones has started 3 BCS Championship Games at 3 different positions on the line. He’s most ready to be an NFL Center, where he played his final season at Alabama. He absolutely dominated Notre Dame Nose Tackle Louis Nix III in the 2013 championship. He may not be the flashiest of athletes with raw talent, but his mastery of the fundamentals and intelligence make him a safe pick.
Combine Results: Jones did not participate in the combine. He played in the BCS National Championship game with slightly torn foot ligaments, and was unable to fully heal them before the combine.
Projected Team and Round: Jones will likely be a late second or very early third round pick. He could go #60 to the Atlanta Falcons because they need to eventually replace Todd McClure, but their second round pick will likely be spent on an OG. Jones’ stock has certainly fallen as a result of his no-show at the combine. We’ll see if he can perform at his pro day.
Born: 9/14/1991 Atlanta, Georgia Years in College: 4
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 320lbs
Overview: Alabama’s frontmen dominated virtually every defensive line they faced in 2012. Warmack was a major part of the equation due to his footwork and strength. He moves surprisingly well downfield to take on blocking linebackers. Although shorter than the ideal, Warmack is the most NFL-ready guard prospect in the draft. His performance at the BCS Championship Game against Notre Dame proved this, helping the Crimson Tide offense roll over the hyped Irish defense. His rather un impressive 40 yard dash time is uncharacteristic, and could indicate a lack of preparation.
Projected Team and Round: He didn’t have a particularly impressive showing at the combine, but scouts have seen Warmack where it really counts–on the field. Great tackles typically fall to the later first round, but Warmack’s experience–having played in 5 games as a true freshman and starting every game for the next 3 seasons–makes him special. He won’t fall past the Rams at #16, but don’t be surprised if the Arizona Cardinals take him #7. The Cardinals need a reliable guy up front, and Warmack is the epitome of reliable.
Overview: Many are undecided on the top RB in this year’s draft, but despite suffering injuries in 2012, I think Lacy’s hard work and dedication makes him the top RB prospect. Giovanni Bernard, RB out of North Carolina has less experience, and certainly less strength. Lacy’s 220lb build gives him a great advantage for those teams in need of a thunderous back to pound the ball up the middle and break tackles. He shined brightest on the biggest stage with 140 rushing yards and a TD, earning him MVP honors. A true workhorse, he has the potential to be a solid starter in the NFL and could rise to be a Frank Gore-type.
Combine Results: After a slight tear in his hamstring, Lacy did not participate in combine drills.
Projected Team and Round: With his absence at the combine, Lacy will need an impressive pro-day performance to claim his rightful spot as the top RB in the draft. With a stellar performance, he could break into the Top 32 with the Denver Broncos at #28. Peyton Manning needs a reliable RB to hand the ball off to every once in a while, and Knowshon Moreno just cannot stay healthy. If he falls to the 2nd Round, I can’t imagine him going later than #46. The St. Louis Rams will need to replace Steven Jackson eventually, and drafting Lacy would allow the great Jackson to mentor him.
Courtney Upshaw is one of the biggest linebackers in this draft. He is agile enough to stand up in the Ravens 3-4 base, and strong enough to put his hand in the dirt in 4-man fronts.
Upshaw gives the Ravens what the have been looking for, the perfect compliment on the outside to Terrell Suggs. Upshaw will join a defense that already has an incredible reputation around the league.
As always, the Alabama defensive players are extremely well coached. He has heavy hands, which means his explosion can put blockers on their heels. When that happens, the Ravens defense wins, even if he doesn’t make a play on the ball carrier.