No matter what year it is or where these two schools are in the rankings, the Iron Bowl is always a must-watch game for any scout. The football programs at Auburn and Alabama have become factories when it comes to sending talented prospects to the NFL.
This season is no different, and though we will not get to see the likes of Tua Tagovailoa or Dylan Moses, there are plenty of stars who will make an impact at the next level very soon. Here is a list of top players to keep your eye on — keeping in mind this is not everyone who could be draft diamonds later this spring.
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (TDN Rank: 3)
When it comes to footwork and precision of route running, there are not many I have ever seen who do it as well as Jeudy does — college or in the pros. Jeudy's frame may look light, but his speed, quickness, toughness and strong hands make him a plug-and-play starting wide receiver for almost any team in the NFL. Get this man in space and watch the yards go by.
Most realistic fit: Washington Redskins
Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn (TDN Rank: 8)
I have said this many times but you just cannot make a player like Derrick Brown. The interior defensive lineman stands at 6-foot-5 and is over 300 pounds with a motor that does not stop and a first strep that will blow you away. In an age where interior disruption is all the rage, this guy is a lock for the top 10.
Most realistic fit: Arizona Cardinals
Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama (TDN Rank: 11)
You cannot teach speed, which is the case with Henry Ruggs. He is one of the most coveted prospects in this class as he possesses true world-class speed. But there’s more to Ruggs. He is not just a finesse player. He will go up and make tough catches in traffic and he takes contact well. He is the total package.
Most realistic fit: Philadelphia Eagles
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama (TDN Rank: 18)
The NFL will always seek bigger cornerbacks in hopes of hitting what could be called the Richard Sherman jackpot. Teams are looking for defensive backs with long arms, a strong punch, good instincts in press and man coverage with good ball skills to boot. Trevon Diggs fits that mold.
Most realistic fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
Jedrick Wills, Alex Leatherwood, OTs, Alabama (TDN Rank: 28, 29)
Alabama has not one but two potential top-50 offensive tackles playing in this game. Alex Leatherwood was a 5-star coming out of high school who initially saw the field early on at guard before moving to left tackle in 2019. Jedrick Willis has been the starting right tackle for the Crimson Tide for two seasons with 26 consecutive starts under his belt.
Leatherwood has more of the athletic upside, but Willis has power in the lower body. He seems to be more prepared for the MFL right now, but Leatherwood has shown nice flashes in his first year at left tackle — although his tape was better at guard. Both of these guys will have a chance to prove themselves against a strong Auburn defensive line.
Most realistic fit: Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns
Raekwon Davis, IDFL, Alabama (TDN Rank: 30)
Raekwon Davis has been on our radar for a long time. While he has not developed into the pass rusher we hoped he might, what he is right now is a massive 6-foot-7, 300-pound anchor on the interior. Davis has been one of the best run defenders in the country over the last three years.
Most realistic fit: Indianapolis Colts
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama (TDN Rank: 33)
Xavier McKinney is a strong safety who will hurt you in coverage with play on the ball and then hurt you physically in run support with hard hits. He can also do damage off the edge when blitzing the pocket. McKinney is a true all-around safety who should be a fringe first-round pick.
Most realistic fit: Dallas Cowboys
Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama (TDN Rank: 42)
As Terrell Lewis has come into his own in 2019, it is becoming more and more obvious that the only reason this guy is not being touted as a first-round pass rusher is due to injuries in the last two years. Lewis suffered an elbow injury in 2017 and an ACL injury in 2018. But this year, he has been healthy and a high-impact player off the edge with size, speed and strength.
Most realistic fit: Miami Dolphins
Prince Tega Wanogo, Jack Driscoll, OTs, Auburn (TDN Rank: 46, 67)
Prince Tega Wanogo is a gifted big man when it comes to how well he can move. As a former basketball player, Tega Wanogo is still learning the nuances of the position, but he is setting a baseline for what is to come.
On the other side of the line, Jack Driscoll is strong with a great mind for the game. He is rarely out-smarted or out-played by edge rushers, and his success rate and contribution to a clean pocket mirror that. He may not be as athletically gifted as Tega Wanogo, but Driscoll is very reliable.
Most realistic fit: Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (TDN Rank: 69)
DeVonta Smith's teammates will tell you he might have the best hands of all the pass catchers on the team, even though he is often the forgotten man in Alabama's incredible wide receiver room. Smooth and strong are the two attributes that come to mind when you watch Smith play. He is not as explosive as Jeudy, Ruggs and even sophomore Jaylen Waddle, but Smith can scoot. He also has long arms and uses them well to expand his catch radius constantly. He is a top-50 player.
Most realistic fit: New York Jets
Shyheim Carter, DB, Alabama (TDN Rank: 82)
Shyheim Carter is the “star” defensive back for Alabama who plays a variety of roles that include safety coverage as well as man-to-man work. I think slot work suits him best and allows him to be physical with receivers, which seems to be his most comfortable role.
Most realistic fit: Seattle Seahawks
Nick Coe, EDGE, Auburn (TDN Rank: 99)
Nick Coe is a versatile defensive lineman who has played as a 4-3 defensive end as well as a stand-up pass rusher in a 3-4. Strength is his game, and because of this, his go-to move is the bull rush. His long arms also make it tough for blockers to hold onto him and stay in front of him. He is a strong edge player who could be used well in a rotational role at the next level.
Most realistic fit: Buffalo Bills
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama (TDN Rank: 105)
It has taken longer for the former 5-star, No. 1 running back recruit in the country to get on the field in a regular starting role than most thought, but that is due to Najee Harris being at Alabama, not a lack of talent. The size, speed, strength, agility and pass-catching package that Harris has is quite rare. Now he is finally getting to showcase that on all three downs this season. The production has been over 1,000 all-purpose yards with 17 total touchdowns.
Most realistic fit: Houston Texans
Marlon Davidson, EDGE, Auburn (TDN Rank: 202)
Marlon Davidson being this low in the TDN consensus ranking has to change. He has come on strong this season, and outside of Derrick Brown, Davidson has been Auburn’s most disruptive defensive player. He has very strong hands and plays with a high motor. He is strong on the edge and will constantly make life tough on offensive tackles with his relentless play. Davidson can be an inside and out guy for 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.
Most realistic fit: Tennessee Titans