TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama and defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson will apply for early eligibility into the 2016 NFL Draft, adding one of the nation's most powerful rushers and an elite interior defensive tackle to the 2016 draft field. The juniors announced their decisions at a news conference held Friday.
Henry said he received a second-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, which helps underclassmen get a general understanding of where they might stand in the draft before they have to make the decision whether to leave college. Henry rushed for 2,219 yards in 15 games for the Crimson Tide, with 28 touchdowns, and led the Crimson Tide offense to coach Nick Saban's fourth national championship at the school.
"I'm not satisfied with (a second-round grade), but I'm never satisfied," Henry said. "None of that is really under my control, so I don't worry about it. All I can do is keep working."
Robinson said he did not file for feedback from the NFLDAB, but said coach Nick Saban informed him Saban's NFL sources consider him a mid-to-late first-round pick. Robinson, a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, made 46 tackles for the nation's No. 3-ranked defense, with 3.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and a team-high 10 quarterback hurries despite facing consistent double-teaming throughout the season. Robinson (6-4, 312 pounds) has the skill set to play in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense at the next level.
"They mainly like my ability to play the run, play two-gap," said Robinson.
"I think both of these guys have done a really good job of doing their due diligence to make a (good) decision," Saban said, adding that the Crimson Tide has lost 20 players to early NFL draft entry since 2009, including 13 first-round draft picks.
Alabama's other top underclassmen, including defensive end Jonathan Allen and tight end O.J. Howard, did not attend the news conference and their draft intentions remain unclear. The deadline for underclassmen to apply for early draft eligibility is Monday. Three Alabama defensive players, safety Eddie Jackson and pass-rushing linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson, have announced via social media they will be back at Alabama in 2016.