Unlike most prospects, Alabama’s Mac Jones and Najee Harris could have a personal advantage for their future rosters.
When Jim Nagy announced that Alabama’s DeVonta Smith would be joining the 2021 class, it was only the tip of the iceberg. In less than 72 hours, the trifecta of talent that hailed from Tuscaloosa only added value to an impressive class.
Running back Najee Harris and quarterback Mac Jones both agreed to head down south to Mobile, Ala. later this month and compete in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The premiere College Football All-Star game, now more than ever will it be important for every player to strut their stuff in front of all 32 teams in preparation for the NFL Draft.
Nagy, an 18-year NFL scout and member of four Super Bowl-winning teams, also might be given the Crimson Tide stars an extra boost for their draft stocks. The Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers’ coaching staffs will be calling the shots.
Instead of the traditional north and south rosters, the Senior Bowl will hit one out of the park with their National and American teams. The Panthers will be in high demand looking for a long-term answer at quarterback while the Dolphins need to find a stable lead runner.
Low and behold, Harris will be working with Brian Flores’ staff while Jones will be learning under Joe Brady and Matt Rhule.
Jones and Harris could be looking for their audition tape
The Dolphins finished 22nd in rushing for 2020, averaging 3.9 yards per play and under 110 yards per outing. Myles Gaskins proved to be a serviceable secondary option, but the team didn’t have a player rush for more than 584 yards on the year.
Harris’ highlight-reel campaign for the Tide’s offense speaks dividends at his potential. Granted, Alabama’s starting offensive line soon will all be playing on Sundays, but the senior’s production in the open-field is hard to ignore. And in fewer games than Heisman winner Derrick Henry, Harris added his name to the record books with 30 total touchdowns.
The real selling point? His hands. Take one look at him as both a pass-catcher and blocker in the backfield to secure his tier 1 potential for any franchise at the next level.
Carolina isn’t in need to find a franchise quarterback right away, but Teddy Bridgewater is the bridge option in the new regime. Jones put up video game numbers in 2020, but look at what he was working with all season?
Was the Heisman finalist’s production based off his supporting cast or full-blown talent and mechanics? Scouts will have a chance to see up close and personal with Smith and Harris on the opposing team.
If the accuracy, poise and touch still the same quality as it was in Bryant-Denny Stadium, there’s little to argue when looking at Jones as a first-round option. Rhule will have the chance to see the flaws, the positives and best of all, the potential in a player fresh off a national title.
Unlike other prospects, this is an audition for both players on their respective clubs. One look at recent mock drafts have Harris swimming alongside Tua Tagovailoa once again and the king under center continuing his reign in the Queen City. The week in person is critical for all, but none more than the two Alabama alums.
Players have won over coaching staffs with a strong showcase in Mobile. For Jones and Harris, they’ll look to boost their stock, but they also could be getting a head start on studying the playbooks for Sunday afternoons in the fall of 2021.