A look at the 2013 NFL Draft prospects who will be playing when Notre Dame and Alabama meet Monday night for the national title.
Tonight is finally the big game. The story lines in the game are tremendous: two historic franchises coming back into glory, or as Jerry Jones would say...well I'll leave that one alone. Manti Te'o overcoming the tragedy of losing his girlfriend and grandmother in a span of 24 hours, to lead his team and defense to the National Championship Game. The SEC is trying to win its seventh straight BCS title game (and Alabama three of the last four), can Notre Dame end that terrific wrong. The game hopefully will be a great physical battle and the prospects are numerous.
If you like line play or tough, physical football, you'll love this game (and many of you are Giants fans, so I know you do).
Game Time: 8 p.m. ET
The Crimson Tide are very intriguing for the Giants and every NFL team because the prospects are numerous and high quality.
The best prospect in the game for my money is the big, strong and athletic Chance Warmack. I love watching Warmack play -- now only if he could find a jersey that covered his body. Warmack is going to be a consensus top 10 player in this draft class, however he is a NFL guard and could very well be available when the Giants pick 19th. Guards that don't also project to tackles (Mike Iupati and Branden Albert) generally fall in the draft and you could look no further than last year when David Decastro lasted until the 24th pick (Pittsburgh Steelers).. Warmack will be selected in the first round.
Also in the interior of the Alabama offensive line is the versatile Barrett Jones. Jones has made an All-America team as a guard, tackle, and this year a center. The Giants value versatility in their offensive linemen and Jones could be an appealing player for them, even in the first round. Jones' range is mid-first to second round.
At tackle is the mammoth D.J. Fluker. Fluker never quite reached elite status like many were projecting, but he has had a very good career. Fluker is a mauler at right tackle, who is a second round pick right now to me.
The Crimson Tide have had running backs drafted in the first two rounds in the last two drafts (Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson), but that will likely not continue that streak this year though Eddie Lacy is a big physical running back that could get selected in the second or third round.
Another player who really fits what the Giants might be looking for is tight end Michael Williams. Perhaps the best blocking tight end in the nation. The 6-foot-5, 272-pound Williams also has pretty soft hands, I think he's an early day three pick right now, but if the Giants cannot re-sign Martellus Bennett I would love to have him.
The best cornerback in this class just might be Dee Milliner. Milliner has very good size speed combination. He plays physical and makes a lot of plays on the football though he doesn't always come away with the pick. Milliner would be good value at 19 if he still available. The Giants need secondary help and they aren't afraid to spend high picks on them.
The player that is likely to get drafted second on defense for the Crimson Tide is defensive tackle Jesse Williams. The opinion of Williams is all over the place. Williams is not a guy who makes a lot of splash plays (2.5 tackles for loss), but he's a load to move. I'm personally not the biggest fan of Williams, but I recognize that the Giants need someone to stop the run. Williams might end up in the first round, but he's more of a mid-second round value for me.
The Crimson Tide have a lengthy, good-sized linebacker in Nico Johnson. I prefer his teammate C.J. Mosley much more, but Mosley appears like he is heading back to school.
Safety Robert Lester has proven that he can make plays on the football in college, but might lack the athleticism in the NFL. Lester's pre-draft process will be very important to his draft stock.
Future prospect: Running back T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon is a true freshman, but he's a dynamic play-maker.
Underclassmen for Alabama: Milliner, Fluker, Lacey
We'll start with the Fighting Irish offense.
The best offensive prospect is tight end Tyler Eifert. Eifert will battle Zach Ertz to be the first tight end selected in the draft. Eifert is not a great athlete, but he is a very good one and can really be a good red-zone threat in the NFL.
Center Braxston Cave is another player to watch. He's an early day three pick.
I really like the two Notre Dame running backs Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick. Wood is a physical running back with some breakaway speed. I would be comfortable with him in round four. Riddick is an interesting player, he has bounced between wide receiver and running back. Riddick is 5-11, 200 pounds. Riddick is an excellent receiving option out of the backfield and has appealing dynamic ability. I'm not sure he's a great fit for the Giants offensive philosophy, however. I like Riddick the more I watch him play and I'm interested to see where he ends up.
Manti Te'o. I love Manti Te'o as a player and a prospect, but the idea that he should be the No. 1 overall pick is ludicrous -- inside linebackers don't change franchises. Te'o does not have Patrick Willis' athleticism and I think there's an outside chance he'll be available when the Giants pick at No. 19, especially if the teams ahead of the Giants go crazy on quarterbacks (and I hope they do because it pushes good players down the board). Te'o is physical, instinctive and makes plays in pass coverage. He's also a leader. Good player.
Defensive tackle Louis Nix III is a terrific inside player who could really wreck havoc against the Crimson Tide. Nix could be the key to this game. He has declared his intention to return to school, we'll have to see if he changes his mind.
Kapron Lewis-Moore has really been great during the stretch run. He has 5.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in his last four games. Lewis Moore is listed at 6-4, 306 pounds and plays defensive end for the Irish. Moore has the kind of length, size, and ability to be a player the Giants might love to move around their defensive line as a defensive end in some packages and defensive tackle in others. I'm interested to see if Moore can continue his terrific play down the stretch and if he's athletic during the pre-draft process as he can flash on tape.
Enjoy the game and be sure to follow me on twitter @NFLmocks