Alabama NFL Draft Prospects

Observations from Alabama’s 2018 Pro Day

Alabama wide receiver Cam Sims (No. 17) in warmups prior to 2018 CFP title game versus Georgia: Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

Thirteen former University of Alabama standouts were inside the Hank Crisp Indoor facility on Wednesday, getting a chance to enhance their opportunities to continue playing football at the next level. 

For the players that participated in the National Football League Scouting Combine, which included Calvin Ridley, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da’Ron Payne, Tony Brown, Anthony Averett, Levi Wallace and Da’Shawn Hand among others, nothing much was needed from them in terms of making sure their stance as concrete draft picks.

As for Robert Foster, Cam Sims, Rashaan Evans, Bo Scarbrough and Joshua Frazier, having a strong Pro Day goes a long way for them. 

Cam Sims, WR

Injuries prevented what could have been a 1,000-yard receiver, but Sims’ hands, speed and body control drew attention on Wednesday. He was clocked by most scouts between 4.52 seconds and 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash: a solid time for a target standing at 6-foot-5, 214 pounds. 

Sims, a Louisiana native, posted a 34″ vertical and 10’3″ broad jump. 

He caught every pass from ex-Tide quarterback Blake Sims during positional workouts, including a few receptions where he showed balance in keeping both feet in bounds. 

Rashaan Evans, LB 

If he was not already considered a first-round pick on tape, Evans’ performance at pro day will have more than likely sealed the deal. A former five-star recruit from Auburn (Ala.) High School, the young man that was given the nickname “Razor” got much attention from teams. 

While one scout took him through edge-rushing/striking drills, media pundits (myself included) kept hearing him say ‘Helluva job, Razor’ and ‘keep being violent’ in pursuing the quarterback. 

After leading the team with 13 tackles for loss in 2017, Evans anticipates being either an instinctive inside linebacker or an edge-bending outside guy in the NFL. Two franchises in particular that were keying in on him were the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Both teams will pick at Nos. 25 and 28 respectively in the first round, and with both sitting in divisions where good quarterback play is vital, a strong backer is on the list for both. 

Tony Brown, DB

His character will depict the success of his career, but there is no denying the sheer athlete that Brown is. Following up his 40-time of 4.36 seconds at the combine, he excelled at high-pointing drills at pro day. Scouts from the Washington Redskins took immediate interest in Brown and worked him out from start to finish. Despite it not being a need, DeAngelo Hall’s retirement and the decision to trade Kendall Fuller to Kansas City may have Brown in play for the Redskins. 

A possibility is in order for other teams within the middle to late rounds to select Brown, however, Washington clearly seemed to be fixated on him throughout Wednesday. 

Bo Scarbrough, RB

Durability is the issue for Bo Scarbrough. 

He’s dealt with nagging leg issues since high school and was not the same at Alabama last season, upon coming off a broken leg versus Clemson in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship (2016 season).

He checks off all boxes in conversations about size, speed, explosiveness and physicality, but he can really be special should he stay healthy. 

Scarbrough put up marquee numbers at the combine, especially running the 40 at 4.52 seconds and posting a 40″ vertical. At times, he needs to run with a low pad but could find ways to work around that. With running backs not being as high in value, showing teams that he will be a three-down player is ideal for the Tuscaloosa native and former five-star at the next level. 

Da’Shawn Hand & Joshua Frazier, DL

These two did not grow into major superstars at Alabama, but that does not mean an NFL team will not grant them an opportunity. Hand finished his career with 71 tackles – including 15.5 for loss and 10 sacks – yet he could have an even better showing as a pro, given the right system. 

He ran the 40 at 4.83 seconds, despite weighing 297 pounds and demonstrated explosiveness through pass rush drills.

Frazier improved as pro day went on. He battled some early nerves, but started to display speed, hand strike and velocity on the bag as he got more comfortable. 

Like Hand, Frazier would have to be selected to a system fit.  

Robert Foster, WR 

Hands down. Robert Foster is an elite athlete.

He amazed at the combine with a strong 40-time (4.41), 3-cone drill (6.90) and 20-yard shuttle (4.20), which placed him among the best for wide receivers.

Like Cam Sims, Foster was poised to be a perineal 1,000-yard weapon for the Tide, unfortunately injuries and frustration took over. 

The 6-foot-2, 196-pounder did well in gauntlet drills at the combine and pro day, but his health will be the biggest question. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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