Saturday, February 24

Alabama vs. Georgia Players in the NFL: Which School’s Loaded List Wins?

Alabama and Georgia will meet in the college football playoff championship on Monday in an SEC final that features two five-star rosters.

How would that translate into an NFL showdown? After all, Alabama and Georgia combined to put 88 active players on rosters in week 1 of the NFL season. The schools were combined for four Pro Bowl selections this year, center Ryan Kelly, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and cornerback Trevon Diggs of Alabama, and running back Nick Chubb of Georgia. More talent is on the way too. In Sporting News’ latest NFL Mock Draft, Alabama’s Evan Neal and Georgia’s Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean are projected to be first-round picks.

MORE: 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Cincinnati add 8 of 32 picks in Round 1

Alabama coach Nick Saban and Georgia coach Kirby Smart have built NFL football factories. So what would that be like if those alumni from Alabama and Georgia played head-to-head in the NFL? SN take a closer look:

Georgia offense vs. Alabama defense

(SN illustration)

Georgia quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford, Georgia’s 2006-08 quarterback, ranks 12th all-time in the NFL with 49,757 yards. He will have his best shot at leading a Super Bowl career with the Rams this season. Jake Fromm is the backup. If Alabama is allowed to use Jalen Hurts, could Georgia claim Justin Fields?

Georgia runners

The running back depth chart would be the same as in the 2018 CFP championship game against Alabama: Nick Chubb ranks third in the NFL with 1,201 rushing yards this season, and would split carries with Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift, who have 802 and 587 yards, respectively. It’s a fantastic trio to work with.

Georgia catchers and tight ends

Veteran AJ Green led all Georgia receivers this season with 825 yards, and Mecole Hardman (590 yards) and Chris Conley (323 yards) have also emerged as role players in their respective offenses. George Pickens is the next man. The tight end is a soft spot, but Brock Bowers will be in the NFL in a few years.

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Georgia offensive line

David Andrews is one of the most trusted centers in the league with New England, starting 16 games each in two of the last three seasons. Ben Cleveland has emerged as a solid point guard at the end of the season, and tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wynn have adapted to their roles. Georgia doesn’t have much depth here.

Alabama defensive line

Alabama would be 4-3 with a talented group leading the way that includes Quinnen Williams, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and A’Shawn Robinson. Dalvin Tomlinson, Jarren Reid, Raekown Davis and Christian Barmore would add depth to the group from this position. Allen has enjoyed a career-high 8.5 sacks this season.

Alabama Supporters

Veterans CJ Mosley and Dont’a Hightower would anchor this group, where Reggie Ragland, Shaun-Dion Hamilton and Rashaan Evans could rotate. There is no real lead rider in the group after Hightower, but that’s part of the Alabama model.

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Alabama High School

Trevon Diggs made the Pro Bowl with 11 interceptions this season, and Marlon Humphrey is a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback out with a torn pectoral muscle. Patrick Surtain II has four interceptions as a rookie. Security is loaded too, with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Eddie Jackson, Landon Collins, Ronnie Harrison and Xavier McKinney. The Saban era has created depth in high school.

MORE: Alabama vs. Georgia Odds, Prediction, CFP Championship Betting Trends

Alabama offense vs. Georgia defense

(SN illustration)

Alabama quarterbacks

That room of quarterbacks has come together again. Mac Jones has the highest passer rating in the group at 92.5, but Jalen Hurts (who finished his career at Oklahoma) has led a playoff advance with the Eagles. Tua Tagovailoa continues to fight injuries in Miami, but he is not far behind.

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Alabama Runners

Alabama has four of the top 25 running backs in the NFL this season. Derrick Henry (937 yards) has played in just eight games. Rookie Najee Harris (1,172 yards) ranks fourth in the league for rushing, and Damien Harris (892 yards) and Josh Jacobs (740) are also in the mix.

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Alabama catchers and tight ends

Julio Jones has seven Pro Bowl appearances, but has been injured most of this season. Calvin Ridley would also be in the mix. Based on this year alone, the top three most productive receivers have been Jaylen Waddle (988 yards), DeVonta Smith (875 yards) and Amari Cooper (786 yards). OJ Howard is your best bet as a tight end. This group will soon add SN All-American Jameson Williams.

Alabama offensive line

Ryan Kelly has been a three-time Pro Bowl selection in center, but Bradley Bozeman has also been good at the position. The inside would be solid with those two, and Jedrick Wills, Jonah Williams and Cam Robinson could rotate at tackle alongside rookie Alex Leatherwood.

Georgia defensive line

The Bulldogs would be thin here, given that defensive tackle John Jenkins is the only one with a lot of time. However, All-American first team Jordan Davis will be in the NFL soon, and the Bulldogs would always beat some of their talented outside linebackers as lead backs and run a 3-4 defense.

Georgia Supporters

Veteran Justin Houston has 102 career sacks, and Leonard Floyd has 9.5 sacks this season. Roquan Smith ranks third in the NFL with 157 total tackles. Nakobe Dean is next in line for college.

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Georgia High School

This is part of the pipeline that Smart is developing in Georgia. Rookie cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell have combined for three interceptions this season, and Richard LeCounte has carved out a role in Cleveland. Veteran safety Shawn Williams has two seasons with more than 100 tackles.

MORE: Nick Saban vs. Kirby Smart: Remembering Alabama and Georgia Coaches’ Championship Matchups

Special teams

Georgia Special Teams

Rodrigo Blankenship has kicked in five games for the Colts this season, but has struggled with injuries. The Bulldogs don’t have a bettor in the NFL.

Alabama Special Teams

Bettor JK Scott was cut by the Packers but signed with the Jaguars last week. Will Reichard, a member of SN’s junior All-American second team, could be a kicker for an NFL team when he turns pro.

Who wins?

Fun fact: Stafford is the last Georgia quarterback to beat Alabama. In this hypothetical showdown, Georgia would lean into the early running game with Chubb and Michel, and Stafford would make some connections with Green, who was a favorite target in college.

Alabama, however, could pile up the line of scrimmage and force some interceptions with Fitzpatrick and Diggs.

The Crimson Tide could also rotate quarterbacks, and all three could play in this matchup. Jones, however, would hit some deep passes to Waddle and Smith, and Crimson Tide could dominate the running game with Henry and Harris healthy. Those national champion teams in the CFP era have produced NFL stars, and that would shine in this showdown.

Stafford would keep Georgia in, but Crimson Tide would cover a 7-point spread here.

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