With the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine being canceled as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams have had few offseason chances to evaluate the top prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. That has made pro day workouts all the more important this year, as it represents the only chance for NFL teams to evaluate prospects based on their raw athletic testing numbers and performance in key practice drills.
Alabama’s pro day is one of the most important ones on the calendar every year. Nick Saban’s program has created countless high-level NFL starters, and the team will once again have a chance to produce numerous first-round picks and top options in the draft. The team could have five or more first-round picks, and guys like Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Patrick Surtain, Christian Barmore, Najee Harris, and Landon Dickerson will be hoping to cement themselves as Day 1 picks — if they haven’t already.
Here’s how you can watch the Crimson Tide’s top players in action and what to look for in Alabama’s 2021 pro day:
When is Alabama’s football pro day?
- Date: Tuesday, March 23
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
Alabama’s pro day will take place on Tuesday at noon. At least four potential first-round prospects will be on display, including QB Mac Jones. Heisman Trophy winner WR DeVonta Smith said he doesn’t plan to participate in on-field workouts. Alabama will also have a “follow-up pro day” a week later on March 30, as they usually do, per NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread.
How to watch Alabama pro day workouts
The NFL Network will provide coverage of Alabama’s pro day and several other notable pro days in the lead-up to the 2021 NFL Draft. Their coverage will take place in the form of a “Path to the Draft Pro Day Special,” and former NFL scouts turned draft analysts, Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks, will provide analysis of each prospect’s performance and will explain how it impacts their draft stock.
What to watch from Alabama’s pro day
The skill-position players will command a lot of attention at Alabama’s pro day, and many eyes will be on Mac Jones. The team’s starting quarterback is coming off a great season that saw him complete 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just four interceptions en route to a national championship. A strong performance at the Senior Bowl provided him a stock up and he has been steadily rising ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jones isn’t much of an athlete, so he’ll need to continue to showcase his best skills: His accuracy and ability to throw with excellent anticipation. Scouts will have a close eye on how he throws the deep ball during this workout as well. If Jones can throw well and convert on his passing attempts and show sound footwork and mechanics, he could continue to climb up draft boards and establish himself as a sure-fire top-15 pick.
Elsewhere, DeVonta Smith said he’ll only weigh in for NFL scouts and won’t participate in on-field drills. The Heisman winner is coming off a 1,865-yard campaign for Alabama and put his elite route running on display along with great speed. He’s already cemented himself as a top-10 pick.
Teammate Jaylen Waddle should be very fun for viewers to watch, though. He is a speed demon, so his performance in the 40-yard dash could help him quite a bit. If Waddle can log something in the 4.3-second range — or better — teams could see him as a Tyreek Hill-type weapon. He already looks like a top-20 pick, but good numbers in speed-based drills could allow Waddle to climb as high as the top-10 in this year’s draft class.
If you’re looking for defensive prospects, CB Patrick Surtain II and DL Christian Barmore are the two big names to watch on that side of the ball. Surtain is in the running to be the top corner selected while Barmore may well be the best interior defensive line prospect in this year’s draft class. Surtain will be focused on showing fluid movement skills during his drills at the cornerback spot while Barmore will want to show off some athleticism to show that his eight-sack campaign last year will be transferrable to the NFL.
NFL mock draft for Alabama players
Sporting News’ latest NFL mock draft projects five Alabama players will be selected in the first round, according to Vinnie Iyer.
6. Eagles: WR DeVonta Smith
7. Lions: WR Jaylen Waddle
12. 49ers: QB Mac Jones
15. Patriots: CB Patrick Surtain II
17. Raiders: DT Christian Barmore