KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIAT) — Several football players who either played in Alabama or have ties to the state hope to hear their name called during the 2023 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday.

The draft kicks off Thursday at 7 p.m. and will end Saturday, April 29. The three-day, seven round event is being held in Kansas City, Missouri, for the first time in the draft’s history. The first NFL draft was held in Philadelphia in 1936.

The University of Alabama has two players expected to be taken off the board early in the first round in Bryce Young and Will Anderson. Young could be the first Alabama player to be taken No. 1 overall since Harry Gilmer in 1948. Safety Brian Branch is another player that could be taken in the first round because of his abilities to play multiple positions on defense.

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs is a player who could potentially be a late first-round pick or early second-round pick. His elusiveness and speed have drawn comparisons to New Orleans Saints running back, Alvin Kamara.

Here’s a list of players who played in Alabama or have ties to the state who hope to have their name called Thursday through Saturday:

University of Alabama

  • Bryce Young, QB
  • Will Anderson, LB
  • Brian Branch, S
  • Jahmyr Gibbs, RB
  • Jordan Battle, S
  • Eli Ricks, CB
  • Henry To’oTo’o, LB
  • Byron Young, DL
  • Tyler Steen, OT
  • Emil Ekiyor Jr., OG
  • DJ Dale, DE
  • Cameron Latu, TE
  • DeMarrco Hellams, S
  • Jaylen Moody, LB

Auburn University

  • Derick Hall, LB
  • Tank Bigsby, RB
  • Owen Pappoe, LB
  • Colby Wooden, DE
  • Eugene Asante, LB
  • Eku Leota, LB
  • Alec Jackson, OG
  • Shedrick Jackson, WR


  • DeWayne McBride, RB
  • Starling Thomas V, CB
  • Kadeem Telfort, OL
  • Damon Miller, S
  • Trea Shropshire, WR

Troy University

  • Carlton Martial, LB
  • Richard Jibunor, S
  • Jake Andrews, C

Jacksonville State University

  • Zerrick Cooper, QB

Others with ties to Alabama

  • Drew Sanders, LB (Arkansas), attended the UA from 2020-2021
  • Jakorian Bennett, CB (Maryland), attended McGill-Toolen High School
  • Brodric Martin, DT (Western Kentucky), attended Northridge High School
  • Grant Dubose, WR (Charlotte), attended Park Crossing High School