Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
There are a number of potential future Panthers in the BCS National Championship game tonight. Mocking the Draft has a primer for the game and its featured future Pros. Here are some links to prime you for the game.
For me it's the guys in the trenches and Alabama has one on each side of the ball:
BCS National Championship Game NFL Draft watch notes - SBNation.com
When Alabama is on offense, take your eyes off the ball when possible and focus on left guard Chance Warmack. The powerhouse left guard is currently rated as our third-best prospect in the nation and is the top player in the game. Warmack dominated SEC defensive linemen because he's quick off the snap, agile and strong.
As good as Notre Dame's front seven is, Alabama's may be better. Nose tackle Jesse Williams is an ascending prospect even though he's not much of a pass rusher. Williams is a true nose tackle who is difficult to push off the line. Williams will be a hot target for teams looking to bolster their run defense. End Damion Square doesn't get a lot of attention, but he's the kind of solid defensive lineman who will latch onto a roster as a dependable rotation piece.
At #14 both of these should be in play for the Panthers and both would fill immediate needs in my view.
The best offensive lineman of the bunch just might be 'Bama center Barrett Jones who can play all three of the middle positions:
Alabama's Barrett Jones: Tide center's awards, resume and more - SBNation.com
This year brought a third and final shift, as Jones took over at center. All three positions call for different bodies, strengths, and skillsets, but Jones adapted to each. Center is arguably the hardest one, as its the one tasked with making the proper blocking calls for the offensive line, but Jones handled it easily, and in his first year starting at center, he earned the Rimington Trophy as tops in the nation. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Jones is his 4.0 GPA, which earned him this year's Walter V. Campbell Trophy.
If you are talking the top rated player to be drafted then it might be this guy:
Notre Dame's Manti Te'o: Heisman finalist's stats, story and more - SBNation.com
Te'o could have entered the NFL Draft following that junior season, but he decided instead to come back for his final year of eligibility, and that paid off for him in the form of a highly decorated senior season. His return didn't hurt his draft stock, either. Te'o finished the 2012 season with 103 tackles, which led the Irish by a wide margin. He also intercepted seven passes, which ranks second nationally. Sixteen FBS teams intercepted fewer than seven passes this season.
Unfortunately the Panthers seem well stocked at both Center and LB so I'm not sure either of these player's end up wearing electric blue.
Moving to the game itself, here's a decent look at the match-ups:
Notre Dame vs. Alabama: The Preview - One Foot Down
The defensive line and the outside rush linebacker from Alabama likely aren't going to apply a ton of pressure by themselves. As such, Alabama will blitz frequently and when they do it can come from all over the place. A key to this game will be how well the Irish offensive line, tight ends, and running backs pick up these blitzes and also how Notre Dame decides to counter-act them with some quick passes, screens, and checks at the line by Golson. The lack of slants and screens thrown this year, and the relative youth of Golson is going to pose a challenge in this regard.
Finally here is a good read on where this 'Bama team compares to the recetn ones before it and how this team is a little more flawed than some of the recent teams.