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T.J. Yeldon overrated because he went to Alabama, scout says


Alabama head coach Nick Saban suggested in December that the rankings of high school football recruits are more favorable when they are pursued by elite programs such as the Crimson Tide. But are NFL draft prospects from Alabama given a similar bump up the value board?

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One scout seems to think so -- at least where former Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon is concerned.

"He's a little overrated, because he's coming from Alabama, but he's not bad," the scout told "He's strong, but he's not very fast. He would be a good second back if you already have a No. 1."

The early-entry junior figures to be the third Alabama player chosen behind wide receiver Amari Cooper and safety Landon Collins. But where Yeldon will fall among other running backs available in the draft is much less certain. Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Georgia's Todd Gurley are widely regarded as the draft's top two backs. But a lengthy cast of talented rushers will vie to be the third back selected, and if his Alabama pedigree is what it takes to get an earlier draft call, Yeldon will take it. Of course, if Yeldon is widely viewed as an NFL backup, as the scout who spoke to suggests, his draft-day wait could be longer.

Yeldon is the draft's seventh-highest rated running back, according to the grades of NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein.

Overrated or otherwise, there is no question Alabama has populated the draft with its share of players since Saban took over the program: 21 have been chosen in the first or second round since 2009. Cooper and Collins figure to make it a sixth consecutive year in which the program has produced at least two first-rounders. But not all have delivered to expectations.

Alabama's recent history of placing running backs in the NFL has produced a mixed bag of results.

» 2015 NFL Scouting Combine: 6 RBs under scrutiny

As a second-round pick, Eddie Lacy has emerged as one of the league's top rushers with the Green Bay Packers, and won the 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. At the other extreme, Trent Richardson has lived up to none of the expectations that came with being the No. 3 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2012. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts and the change of scenery has done nothing to revive his career. Mark Ingram, a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2011, got off to a slow start in his career but enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2014 (964 yards, nine touchdowns).

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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