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Top 10 NFL Draft prospects to watch in the College Football Playoff National Championship

Hopefully some future Eagles in this group.

Heisman Trophy Presentation Photo by Kent Gidley/Heisman Trophy Trust via Getty Images

Two of the best teams in the country face off tonight for college football supremacy. Alabama and Ohio State field two loaded rosters on both sides of the ball and should challenge each other every minute of the game tonight. Unsurprisingly, both teams have NFL Draft prospects all over their rosters and they’ll have one final test tonight. Here are the ten prospects I am keeping an eye on in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

  1. DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama (#6) The newly minted Heisman winner is about to cap off one of the best seasons ever for a college wide receiver. With 105 catches and 20 touchdowns, the Alabama passing offense ran through Smith this year. Smith doesn’t have many questions to answer as a prospect, but a final dominant game against a talented secondary will be a nice exclamation point on his brilliant season.
  2. Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver, Alabama (#17): Jaylen Waddle is considered by many to be Alabama’s most physically gifted receiver, with better overall athleticism than DeVonta Smith. Unfortunately, Waddle’s injuries this season have kept him from turning that talent into production. Waddle is expected back tonight for the first time since October 17th. No one knows how much Waddle will play tonight, but focus will be on him whenever he takes the field.
  3. Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State (#1): Justin Fields dismantled Clemson last week in one of the better postseason performances in memory by a college quarterback. Despite taking a nasty shot to the ribs in the first half, Fields finished with six touchdowns, making a statement about his position in a talented quarterback class. Fields, hopefully healthy, will have a big test against Alabama’s defense.
  4. Shaun Wade, Cornerback, Ohio State (#24) Shaun Wade had a solid showing against Clemson and will need to follow it up with an even more dominant performance in the National Championship. Alabama’s receiver corps is the most talented in the country, especially with Jaylen Waddle coming back. No matter who he lines up against, the first round hopeful at cornerback will have a big challenge on his hands.
  5. Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State (#2): Chris Olave coming back into the lineup made a big difference against Clemson. The 6’1” speedster caught six passes for over 130 yards and two scores. His presence in the Buckeyes offense makes a huge difference and he will be relied on to make big plays against Alabama’s secondary. Olave is a top 40 talent this year who could go as high as the first round. A big performance tonight will surely stick in the minds of NFL evaluators everywhere.
  6. Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama (#2): Patrick Surtain II has been a steady, dominant force for the Tide secondary all season. After a lockdown performance against Notre Dame, he’ll face a much more explosive Ohio State offense. Surtain’s coverage ability will be important against OSU’s passing game, but his run defense will also be crucial with Justin Fields and Trey Sermon toting the rock.
  7. Christian Barmore, Interior Defensive Lineman, Alabama (#58): Christian Barmore has five sacks in the last four game, proving himself a force on the Alabama defensive front. The talented pass rusher and Philadelphia native will be relied on to keep the heat on Justin Fields all game. Moreover, Barmore will also need to disrupt OSU’s running game. Barmore’s late season breakout has inspired NFL draft hype that another strong game tonight will only add fuel to.
  8. Alex Leatherwood, Offensive Tackle, Alabama (#70): While Alex Leatherwood hasn’t ascended to being a top ten hopeful like many thought, the senior blocker has had a solid season in Alabama. The 6’6” tackle has been a big part of Alabama’s success on offense, showing ability to dominate as a run blocker and on passing downs. Ohio State’s defensive front isn’t what it’s been the last few years, but Leatherwood doesn’t have it easy against the Buckeyes.
  9. Najee Harris, Running Back, Alabama (#22): Despite not scoring for only the second time this season in the semifinal against Notre Dame, Najee Harris still turned in a dominant performance as both a rusher and receiver. Harris now turns his attention to an Ohio State defense that shut Travis Etienne down last week. Harris will get the ball early and often against the Buckeyes and his success will likely determine Alabama’s ability to move the ball.
  10. Trey Sermon, Running Back, Ohio State (#8): Trey Sermon has rushed for over 520 yards in his last two games. The Buckeye Bruiser has quickly grown into another dangerous option in OSU’s loaded offense. With Justin Fields likely hampered with a rib injury, running the ball successfully will be critical if they want to keep Fields upright for four quarters. Sermon’s hard running style is perfect to match with Alabama’s defense. It will be intriguing to see how he fares as a bell cow for the third game straight.

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