Leveraging more than two decades of experience as a financial executive, Birmingham and Mountain Brook, Alabama, resident James Dixon serves as managing director of the southeast region for Stifel Nicolaus & Company. When James Dixon isn’t working, he enjoys following the University of Alabama football team.
Alabama is coming off of its fifth national championship in nine years and, as such, several of its players are receiving attention as potential first-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, which will be held from April 26 to April 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. ESPN’s Mel Kiper, for instance, projects four Alabama players being drafted in the first round. He has cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick being selected sixth overall by the New York Jets and several other publications agree that he’s a top-10 pick. Fitzpatrick finished the 2017 season with 60 tackles, seven passes defended, 1.5 quarterback sacks, and one interception. Kiper also has wide receiver Calvin Ridley going eighth overall to the Chicago Bears, defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne going 17th to the Los Angeles Chargers, and linebacker Rashaan Evans going 28th to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
CBS Sports, meanwhile, projects Fitzpatrick going fourth overall, but, like Kiper, expects Ridley and Evans to be taken by the Bears and Steelers, respectively. CBS Sports didn’t include Payne in its first-round projections. SEC Country’s mock draft had five Alabama players selected in the first round. In addition to Fitzpatrick, Ridley, Payne, and Evans, it had safety Ronnie Harrison going 32nd to the Philadelphia Eagles.