For all of Alabama's talent, some of it projected for the first round of the NFL draft, the Crimson Tide will not boast the top draft prospect on the field when it hosts Texas A&M on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). At least, not for several NFL executives who prefer Aggies junior DE Myles Garrett to any of Alabama's elite players.
"Myles Garrett will always be the best player on the field. Doesn't matter who they play," one executive told NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
That's, in essence, an endorsement for Garrett as the No. 1 prospect in the college game. An NFL scout said the same thing about this time a year ago, and Garrett has backed up the hype with his play. Opponents, in turn, routinely give their offensive tackles help in keeping him off the quarterback. He's been compared to former Eagles and Titans star Jevon Kearse, and Raiders pass rusher Khalil Mack, as well.
Another executive described him as a "constant mismatch", and each of five execs agreed that Garrett will be the top player in the Texas A&M-Alabama game.
Alabama counters with a host of draft possibilities, including several who could also prove to be first-round talents.
"(Alabama LB Reuben) Foster and (DE Jonathan) Allen are both great players, but (Garrett) is a freak," another executive said.
Garrett figures to see plenty of snaps against Robinson, who plays left tackle for the Crimson Tide. Robinson has struggled in pass protection at times this season and allowed a strip sack to Tennessee's Derek Barnett last week. If Robinson can handle the Aggies star, it will provide a game tape he'll hope lands in every scout's hands.
But based on the feedback of NFL executives, that's not the outcome they will be expecting.