- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
It should come as no surprise that the Citi BCS National Championship Game is also the bowl game that features the most NFL-caliber talent.
Alabama and Texas boast 12 players who grade out as mid-round prospects or better, including three likely first-round picks. There are also 16 other players in the game who are late-round or rookie free agent possibilities.
Below is a breakdown of the top 12 NFL prospects from the Crimson Tide and Longhorns as well as a listing of the remaining prospects from each team. Underclassmen are denoted with an asterisk.
Alabama ILB Rolando McClain* (6-foot-3.5, 245 pounds; Scouts Inc. grade: 96) -- Tough and relentless run stopper who is able to mask limited overall range with excellent instincts and angles in pursuit. Also shows ability to hold up in coverage and is the unquestioned leader on the Alabama defense.
Texas S Earl Thomas* (5-11, 198; Grade: 94) -- Complete safety with outstanding instincts, range and fluidity. Can match up one-on-one against slot receivers and is a ball hawk in deep zone coverage. Also tougher versus run than frame indicates.
Texas OLB/DE Sergio Kindle (6-4, 236; Grade: 93) -- Excellent combination of burst and agility to transition to a role as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Needs to get stronger anchoring against the run.
Texas QB Colt McCoy (6-3, 211; Grade: 86) -- Great overall intangibles and shows elite accuracy throwing underneath. Can also be productive using his feet outside the pocket. However, poor footwork, only decent size and below-average accuracy down the field will likely keep him out of the first round.
Alabama CB Javier Arenas (5-8.5, 192; Grade: 85) -- Instinctive and fluid athlete but lacks good top-end speed. Plays more physical than his smaller frame would indicate and is an impact punt returner on special teams.
Alabama DT Terrence Cody (6-3⅝, 373; Grade: 85) -- Mammoth run stopper on the inside who can anchor at nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. However, marginal endurance and potential to eat his way out of the league will hurt Cody on draft day.
Texas WR Jordan Shipley (5-11⅞, 190; Grade: 80) -- Savvy route-runner and shows suddenness in and out of breaks. Displays reliable hands and has the speed to stretch the field. Unpolished as a vertical route-runner and projects best to the slot position in the NFL. Does have potential to contribute in return game, though.
Texas OLB Rod Muckelroy (6-2, 237; Grade: 79) -- Solid combination of instincts, measurables and physical tools to line up inside or on the weak side at the next level.
Alabama G Mike Johnson (6-5.5, 302; Grade: 71) -- Possesses awareness and quickness to develop into a potential starter or at least a versatile backup at the NFL level. Needs to develop more core strength and a more aggressive attitude.
Texas DT Lamarr Houston (6-1, 282; Grade: 70) -- Disruptive one-gap penetrator who shows above-average quickness and agility on the inside.
Texas OT Adam Ulatoski (6-8, 296; Grade: 68) -- Possesses a favorable frame and solid overall technique in pass sets. Limited overall athleticism makes him more suitable to be a right tackle in the NFL.
Alabama DT Brandon Deaderick (6-4, 296; Grade: 64) -- Above-average quickness and athleticism but needs to get stronger anchoring against double-teams on the inside. Could be more suited to play the 5-technique in a 3-4 scheme.
Alabama OLB Cory Reamer (6-3.5, 228; Grade: 46)
Alabama TE Colin Peek (6-5, 252; Grade: 46)
Alabama S Justin Woodall (6-1, 218; Grade: 41)
Alabama PK Leigh Tiffin (6-0.5, 198; Grade: 38)
Texas CB Deon Beasley (5-10⅛, 179; Grade: 30)
Texas ILB Jared Norton (6-3⅛, 233; Grade: 30)
Texas C Chris Hall (6-4, 303; Grade: 30)
Texas G Charles Tanner (6-4, 306; Grade: 30)
Texas PK Hunter Lawrence (6-0, 186; Grade: 30)
Texas PK Ryan Bailey (6-1, 201; Grade: 30)
Alabama CB Marquis Johnson (5-10⅞, 192; Grade: 30)
Alabama DE Loren Washington (6-4, 285; Grade: 30)
Alabama S Ali Sharriff (5-8¾, 201; Grade: 30)
Alabama OT Drew Davis (6-6.5, 306; Grade: 30)
Alabama RB Roy Upchurch (5-11.5, 199; Grade: 30)
Alabama OLB Brandon Fanney (6-4¼, 253; Grade: 20)
It should come as no surprise that the Citi BCS National Championship Game is also the bowl game that features the most NFL-caliber talent. Alabama and Texas boast 12 players who grade out as mid-round prospects or better, including three likely first-round picks.