Every year, the Alabama pro day is one of the highlights of the stretch-run up to the NFL Draft and 2019 is no different.
Alabama is once again loaded with talent and will have some of the top prospects in the draft this year, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. So it is completely unsurprising to learn that Tuesday’s pro day drew eight general managers, as well as another two head coaches.
Alabama Pro Day is the place to be today:— Andrew Groover (@APGroover) March 19, 2019
Patriots HC Bill Belichick
Bengals HC Zac Taylor
Raiders GM Mike Mayock
49ers GM John Lynch
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert
Lions GM Bob Quinn
Titans GM Jon Robinson
Bills GM Brandon Beane
Saints GM Mickey Loomis
Panthers GM Marty Hurney
We also shouldn’t be surprised to learn that New York Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher and defensive line coach Gary Emanuel were also on hand. Alabama has a number of front seven prospects in whom the Giants could be interested.
Could Quinnen Williams be a Giant?
It would have to be something of a dream scenario for Bettcher Dave Gettleman, that a player who is considered one of the very top prospects in the draft — and at a position of need — would fall to them. That is what Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams represents after an absolutely dominant 2018 season and terrific Combine workout.
And while it is unlikely that he somehow slips out of the top five picks, the Giants are preparing for just that possibility.
From our Alabama Pro Day coverage: Star DT Quinnen Williams had dinner with members of the #Giants brass last night, will spend time with the Niners today. He's firmly planted in the Top 10, likely Top 5. pic.twitter.com/DYIZ2NKcmo— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2019
As Rapoport points out, Williams will be visiting the facilities of each of the teams holding one of the first seven picks.
Dave Gettleman loves drafting defensive tackles, and it is distinctly possible that Williams will end the process as the top-graded player on the Giants’ board.
The Giants are also likely looking in to fellow defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs who is a very disruptive pass rusher, but comes with questions about his motor and conditioning level.
Christian Miller, Deionte Thompson make scouts wait
Sticking with Alabama’s defensive prospects, scouts will have to check back later to get a look at two of their more intriguing prospects. EDGE Christian Miller had a breakout season in 2018, but a late injury kept him out of the Senior Bowl and scouting combine, and it looks like Alabama’s Pro Day as well. Likewise, safety Deionte Thompson suffered a torn ligament in his wrist while training for the Combine.
Scouts at Alabama pro day were told Christian Miller/LB and Deionte Thompson/S will work out on April 2nd.— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 19, 2019
The Giants will likely be back in the Alabama facilities to watch both players, as either could be a good fit in their defense.
Josh Jacobs’ poor 40 time
With all the attention on Alabama’s defense, it can be easy to forget that they have offensive players in the draft as well. Offensive tackle Jonah Williams could be in play for the 17th overall pick, and he is one of several Alabama offensive players with the chance to go in the first round. One of those has commonly been running back Josh Jacobs, who rose throughout the year to be the top running back on many boards.
Speed was never Jacobs’ strength, relying more on good vision and violent running to make yardage.
But a poor showing in the 40-yard dash can leave a sour taste in teams’ mouths, and Jacobs’ reported 4.6s are not great.
Alabama pro day times: Josh Jacobs/RB, low to mid 4.6's (4.62 seems to be the consensus). Mack Wilson/LB, 4.65 and 4.71.— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 19, 2019
Alabama Pro Day: 40-yard dash— Terrin Waack (@terrinvictoria) March 19, 2019
Running back Josh Jacobs ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/dyEZudHc9c
Jonah Williams at 17?
Speaking of Alabama’s offensive prospects, it is possible that offensive tackle Jonah Williams is in play for the Giants at 17th overall. And while the Giants’ contingent is headlined by defensive coaches, that doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to Williams as well.
Williams isn’t nearly as big as Jawaan Taylor or Cody Ford, but he is an absolute technician who always plays with proper leverage, good angles, and hand usage. Furthermore, he has experience on both the left and right tackle, having played both positions well. That technique makes Williams a solid pass protector as well as run blocker.
Alabama’s Jonah Williams at pro day. pic.twitter.com/crbZWJLBvT— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) March 19, 2019
There are plenty who believe that his pedestrian length — 6-foot-4 1⁄2 inches, 33 5/8 inch arms — will force him inside at the next level. However, he should be given a chance to succeed at offensive tackle before being moved inside to guard.
Will any of these prospects be Giants by the end of April? That remains to be seen, but they are clearly doing their due diligence.