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Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da'Ron Payne intend to enter 2018 NFL Draft


Alabama's contingent of top underclassmen made their draft intentions known on Thursday at an on-campus news conference, and as expected, the majority of the group has elected to file for early draft eligibility.

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DB Minkah Fitzpartick, DT Da'Ron Payne, RB Bo Scarbrough and safety Ronnie Harrison announced they all intend to forgo their senior seasons in favor of the draft.

Crimson Tide WR Calvin Ridley announced, via social media on Wednesday, that he intends to enter the draft. College underclassmen have until a Jan. 15 deadline to file for early draft eligibility.

Fitzpatrick has been a starter since his freshman year and is one of college football's most versatile players, with experience and pro potential at safety, nickelback and cornerback. He won the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, and the Bednarik Award as the game's top defensive player, only the third man ever to win both (Charles Woodson, Patrick Peterson). analyst Daniel Jeremiah has compared Fitzpatrick to a bigger version of Tyrann Mathieu.

Payne, an All-SEC First Team selection, took his game to a whole new level in the postseason. He was the Tide's hero in the Sugar Bowl, picking off a pass and catching a pass for a score.

"Every scout I've talked to has a crush on Payne," analyst Bucky Brooks wrote last month. "He dominates at the point of attack and he plays with great effort. He does need to show some pass-rush production to validate the big grades he's been getting from teams."

Relive Alabama's overtime victory over Georgia in the 2018 National Championship game.

Harrison said Thursday that he received a second-round grade from the NFL's College Advisory Committee. He built a reputation for fierce tackling and aggressive run support, although he made a career-high three interceptions in the 2017 regular season, giving him five for his career. He led UA's defense with 74 tackles on the year. Harrison (6-3, 215), a two-year starter, was named first-team AP All-SEC in his final college season. As a freshman in 2015, he made one of the most crucial plays in the Crimson Tide's 45-40 national championship win over Clemson with a pass breakup in the end zone on a Deshaun Watson pass to Artavis Scott. analyst Daniel Jeremiah has likened him to former Alabama and current New York Giants safety Landon Collins.

Scarbrough (6-2, 235) rushed for 612 yards on 124 carries with eight TDs last year. As part of a running back rotation that included Harris, Josh Jacobs and promising freshman Najee Harris, however, he wasn't featured as much as many expected. After rushing for 180 yards against Washington in a College Football Playoff semifinal the previous year, he didn't post a 100-yard performance in 2017 and averaged only nine carries per game.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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