2021 NFL Draft Prospect Matchup Preview - National Championship

Want to get to know the draft prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft? This weekly column breaks down the best matchups to watch each week in college football.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: draftcampbell@gmail.com
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

Alabama vs Ohio State; Monday, Jan. 11, 8:00 PM ET ESPN

The Prospects:
  • Alabama QB Mac Jones, No. 10
  • Alabama WR DeVonta Smith, No. 6
  • Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood, No. 70
  • Alabama C Landon Dickerson, No. 69
  • Alabama RB Najee Harris, No. 22

  • Alabama DL LaBryan Ray, No. 18
  • Alabama DT Christian Barmore, No. 58
  • Alabama ILB Dylan Moses, No. 32
  • Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II, No. 2
  • Alabama CB Josh Jobe, No. 28

  • Ohio State QB Justin Fields, No. 1
  • Ohio State RB Trey Sermon, No. 8
  • Ohio State WR Chris Olave, No. 2
  • Ohio State C Josh Myers, No. 71
  • Ohio State G Wyatt Davis, No. 52

  • Ohio State OT Thayer Munford, No. 75
  • Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert, No. 88
  • Ohio State TE Luke Farrell, No. 89
  • Ohio State DE Jonathon Cooper, No. 00
  • Ohio State LB Pete Werner, No. 20

  • Ohio State LB Tuf Borland, No. 32
  • Ohio State LB Baron Browning, No. 5
  • Ohio State CB Shaun Wade, No. 24
  • Ohio State CB Sevyn Banks, No. 7
The Matchups: This champhionship game features a ton of great draft matchups for NFL evaluators to watch closely. Ohio State Justin Fields will probably be the first player drafted from either team, and he is coming off of a monster outing against Clemson in which he lead the Buckeyes to the upset. It will be interesting to see if Fields can stay consistent with that performance or if he will regress to struggling like he did against Northwestern and Indiana.

The Crimson Tide are going to challenge Fields' pocket awareness, and how he responds will say a lot. He has had issues passing the face of the rush over the last two season, including outings versus the Hoosiers and the Wildcats. Fields is going to see pesky interior rusher in Christian Barmore, and Alabama coach Nick Saban will probably send some exotic blitzes at Fields. The tape of this game will be a great chance to study Fields.

Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain is going to be challenged by a talented group of Ohio State receivers, including Chris Olave. Surtain versus Olave is a matchup of early-round talents, and Surtain could be a top-10 pick this April in the 2021 NFL Draft. It will be interesting to see how the big Surtain handles the speed and twitch of Olave, sophomore Garrett Wilson, and sophomore Jameson Williams.

Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones could be a second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and Jones and Alabama star wide receiver DeVonta Smith have dominated every team they've played this year. Ohio State, however, has a quality defense with pro talent, so Smith will see some quality cornerbacks, like Shaun Wade and Sevyn Banks.

Another great matchup will occur in the ground games these teams red-hot running backs, Najee Harris from Alabama and Trey Sermon from Ohio State. Harris will see some good linebackers in Pete Werner, Tuf Borland, and Baron Browning, while Sermon will take on a tough Crimson Tide linebacker corps led by Dylan Moses.

Both teams have draftable left tackles - Alabama has Alex Leatherwood and Ohio State has Thayer Munford. Leatherwood could be a first- or second-round pick, while Munford could go on Day 2.


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