A berth in the SEC Championship Game will be at stake on Saturday when Alabama visits Auburn for the 82nd edition of the annual Iron Bowl. Scouts from seven NFL clubs will be on hand to watch the bitter rivalry with more of a long-term eye, specifically for future NFL drafts.
Among the top draft prospects to watch include Alabama DT Da'Ron Payne, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick and WR Calvin Ridley, while the Tigers will feature QB Jarrett Stidham, OG Braden Smith, the SEC's leading rusher in RB Kerryon Johnson, as well as one of the nation's elite kickers in Daniel Carlson.
Here's the list of teams credentialed to attend, per Auburn:
A pair of NFL executives recently identified Ridley as the top WR prospect in the college game. His production has fallen off somewhat this season, in part because Alabama has enjoyed big success with its rushing attack, but he has notched 100-yard performances in each of his last two games. If Auburn's defense can contain the Crimson Tide's running game, the Jalen Hurts-to-Ridley passing connection could be crucial for the UA offense.
Stidham has been a steady performer in his first year as a starter for AU, and currently ranks No. 7 in our college football QB power rankings. But it's been Johnson who has been the engine for the AU offense (1,172 yards, 16 TDs), taking on a larger role after an injury sidelined RB Kam Pettway. Keep an eye on Smith and Payne when they get head-to-head reps up front; that matchup will be a fun one to watch in the trenches, and one that will have an impact on how much room Johnson has to run inside.