NFL Draft: Alabama prospects ponder the future

AP: At least three of the Crimson Tide’s biggest stars — wide receiver Julio Jones, tailback Mark Ingram and defensive end Marcell Dareus — are juniors who are regarded as likely first-round NFL draft picks if they declare themselves eligible.

The deadline for that is Jan. 18.

“I think there are a lot of guys who are ready to come out now,” said quarterback Greg McElroy, a senior. “Whether or not they do, they have to weigh their options.”

And coach Nick Saban has modified his standard advice somewhat for underclassmen with thoughts of turning pro to take into account the NFL’s uncertain labor situation.

“Typically, if guys are first-round picks I tell them I support them going out in the draft,” said Saban, a former Miami Dolphins coach. “With the unknowns this year, I’ve kind of reduced that to guys that are a top-15 pick or they don’t have a chance to move up in the future.” (read more embedded below)