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Tide has one player with a top-15 draft grade per Nick Saban and it’s Tua Tagovailoa

John Glaser - USA Today Sports

Well, this is very interesting. 

When it comes to draft-eligible juniors, Alabama seems to always have a lion’s share of prospects for the next level. The Crimson Tide has 13 juniors – offense and defense – that national media is eager to see take the next step. However, the idea of Alabama having multiple players in the first round may not be the case.

During his final “Hey Coach” show of the season, Nick Saban dropped a bombshell on how only one player has received a top-15 draft grade. 

The player, according to Saban, is Tua Tagovailoa. 

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa undecided on whether he will enter NFL Draft or not

On Monday, Saban said he received draft grades from 20 NFL teams on Dec. 16 and while he does not care for mock drafts or what analysts have to say, he has been trying the last two weeks to convey to players how important the bowl game is.

Certain draft boards have Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Xavier McKinney, Jedrick Wills, Alex Leatherwood, Terrell Lewis and Raekwon Davis among other as first-rounders, but Saban stated that Tagovailoa has the lone top-15 grade. 

“We only had one guy that has that high of a grade and he’s not going to be able to play in the game because he’s injured,” Saban said during his radio show from Orlando. “And that injury may affect his grade, unfortunately, for him, right now.” 

Even with draft experts like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper thinking highly of Jeudy, his decision to play in the Citrus Bowl could have come from the information Saban has gathered. 

After all, NFL coaches, owners and general managers highly respect the 68-year-old. 

When it comes to Lewis and Trevon Diggs, both guys decided not to play versus Michigan. 

In referring back to media analysis, the duo was projected by most as first-rounders. 

With this news for Tagovailoa, he did mention shortly after the Iron Bowl that it would be ‘hard to pass up’ an opportunity for the NFL if he was considered a top-15 draft pick. 

He still has until Jan. 20 of next year to make a decision, but this is interesting.  

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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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