Ex-Alabama participant would decide himself No. 1 over Bryce Young, Will Anderson

Alabama has a powerful likelihood subsequent month to have its first participant taken No. 1 total in an NFL draft since 1948.

It stays to be seen whether or not the Chicago Bears will preserve or commerce that decide, which might assist decide whether or not Bryce Young or Will Anderson has the perfect shot to be taken No. 1.

Former Alabama cornerback Eli Ricks performed final season with each Young and Anderson, and was requested by a reporter Thursday on the NFL scouting mix which participant he would take if he was an NFL basic supervisor holding the highest decide.

Ricks selected a 3rd possibility.

“I’m taking Eli Ricks, to be honest,” he mentioned.

At one level, Ricks’ opinion may not have been far off from actuality. The former five-star recruit was one of many top-rated highschool prospects within the 2020 class, and after transferring from LSU to Alabama final offseason was projected as a top-10 decide within the 2023 draft. But the preseason All-American was gradual to be taught Alabama’s defensive system and didn’t change into a starter till midseason, earlier than lacking time due to a concussion.

Now Ricks is ESPN’s No. 17 cornerback within the upcoming draft and No. 122 total, which initiatives him to be chosen within the center rounds of the April 27-29 draft in Kansas City.

Ricks was invited to the NFL mix regardless of his restricted enjoying time the previous two seasons — he missed a lot of the 2021 season due to a shoulder harm — and won’t take part in drills this week due to a Grade II hamstring pressure, he mentioned Thursday.

That makes Alabama’s professional day March 23 an vital alternative for Ricks to indicate NFL groups what he can do.

“I expect to do it all at pro day, and I expect to surprise a lot of people, to be honest,” he mentioned.

Ricks was one in all 5 Alabama underclassmen to enter the draft. Three of them — Young, Anderson and Jahmyr Gibbs — declared at a information convention Jan. 2 with Nick Saban, whereas Brian Branch made his announcement on social media later that day. Ricks made his name a day later.

“Basically it was just whether or not I felt ready, and whether I could benefit an NFL team or not,” Ricks mentioned Thursday. “And I feel like I could benefit an NFL team this year, so that’s really why I made a decision to declare.”

Ricks added that he by no means thought-about coming into the switch portal if he returned to highschool.

Thursday marked the second time Ricks spoke to reporters after committing to switch to Alabama in December 2021. He was not made out there final season by the college till the Sugar Bowl required the locker room to be open to reporters, when was when Ricks answered questions for the primary time.

High expectations for Ricks by no means materialized at Alabama, however Ricks steered they didn’t have an effect on him.

“I don’t really look into the media,” he mentioned. “I’m barely on social media as it is. Coach Saban told me, ‘just work, stay focused.’ I was at a whole new school, whole new program and all I was focused on was getting used to the pressure out there.”

Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mikerodak.

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