Spring football awards don’t necessarily affect the draft stock of NFL prospects, but teams will pay attention when a productive defender like Lester beats out the slew of NFL-caliber Crimson Tide players to share the Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award with Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones. Ranking among the most important players in a program coming off a BCS championship season should carry some weight.
Lester didn’t get on the field right away, redshirting his first year on campus and playing eight games and making eight tackles as a reserve on the 2009 BCS championship squad. He earned second-team Walter Camp All-American and second-team All-SEC honors (from coaches and media) as a first-year starter in 2010, ranking second in the country with eight interceptions. Lester didn’t make as many plays as a junior, intercepting two passes and breaking up three others, but started every game for the second consecutive year on a championship defense. As a senior, Lester racked up 48 tackles, four interceptions, and three passes defended. He was named to the second-team All-SEC by the coaches.
NFL-caliber size and length. Possesses strong hands, height and vertical to high-point passes in jump-ball situations. Can also drop to the ground quickly to get his hands underneath low throws. Sticks his nose into the run game, drops his hips to stop the momentum of churning running backs up the middle. Finds creases to explode through as a blitzer. Uses his long, strong arms to trip up and wrap up ballcarriers coming into his area or wrestle them down from behind. Good hustle in coverage, will track down receivers over the middle.
Not a quick-twitch athlete. High and stiff in his backpedal. Does not have elite hip flexibility to break down quickly as a tackler or turn and run with receivers downfield. Takes time to get to the sideline at times in cover-two and will take incorrect angles to the ball as a tackler and in coverage. Won’t catch faster receivers in trail coverage over the middle. Often doesn't take the proper angle to the ball in the run and pass game. Inconsistent.
Lester posses length, toughness, and ballskills. Lester has made some impact plays over his career at Alabama, but he also been troubled by maddening inconsistencies. His draft stock has dipped a bit throughout the season, but he will still be selected in the middle rounds.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.