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Giants Now: Prospects to watch in CFP National Championship Game according to draft experts

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Players to keep an eye on during Alabama-Ohio State National Championship Game

Tonight's College Football Playoff Championship Game should be an entertaining matchup as Ohio State will look to take down Alabama at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide went a perfect 10-0 during the SEC-only regular season, highlighted by big wins over No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 3 Georgia and No. 22 Auburn. Alabama then defeated No. 7 Florida in the SEC Championship Game before taking down No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl-CFP Semifinal last week.

Ryan Day and the Buckeyes only played five regular season games in its conference-only schedule, as three of their games were cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreaks. However, Ohio State picked up some crucial wins in its shortened schedule, including victories over No. 18 Penn State and No. 9 Indiana. The Buckeyes then defeated No. 14 Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game before taking down No. 2 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl-CFP Semifinal last week. They head into tonight's game with a 7-0 record.

The final game on the college football schedule will feature numerous NFL prospects on both sides. Here are a few of the top players to watch in tonight's battle for the national championship, according to draft experts in the media:

WR Devonta Smith, Alabama

2020 stats: 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns, four rushes for six yards and one touchdown, nine punt returns for 219 yards (24.3 avg.) and one touchdown in 12 games.

"Smith's weight will be a heavy topic of discussion all spring. We've seen it in recent years with undersized receivers like Marquise Brown, whose game doesn't translate nearly as well when the more physical corners in the NFL get their hands on him... My official position, though, is that Smith plays so much stronger than his listed 175 pounds that I'm not too worried. His production is absurd at this point, and he's doing it without the bevy of first-rounders around him to take away attention from opposing defenses." - Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner

CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

2020 stats: 34 total tackles (20 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception, one defensive touchdown, eight passes defensed in 12 games.

"Surtain's resume at this point is darn-near impossible to argue against early on in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He's been starting ever since he was a true freshman and has allowed only 931 yards in his career on 1,446 coverage snaps. He has prototypical NFL size at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds. Teams will love his physicality and tackling. In his career, he's missed only 11 tackles on 129 attempts. He'll certainly be in the conversation for the first cornerback off the board." - PFF's Renner

QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

2020 stats: 1,909 passing yards, 73.4 completion percentage, 21 passing touchdowns, six interceptions, 75 rush attempts, 316 rushing yards (4.2 avg.), five rushing touchdowns in seven games.

"Let's not overreact to a couple of ugly games from Fields this season. He's still a special passer. Some 73.3% of his attempts this year have been deemed accurate — the highest of any quarterback in the country. This isn't a screen-heavy, dink-and-dunk Ohio State offense, either. His average depth of target has been 9.7 yards downfield this season. Fields is a franchise quarterback prospect." - PFF's Renner

WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

2020 stats: 25 receptions for 557 yards and four touchdowns, three rush attempts for 12 yards, two punt returns for 13 yards (6.5 avg.) in four games (note: Waddle has been out since October 24 with a fractured ankle).

"If Waddle had been healthy for the whole season, there's a chance he would have been him getting Heisman hype and not DeVonta Smith... Waddle is also an electric returner with three career return touchdowns to his name and an 18.1-yard career punt return average. While he might just get thrown in the speed receiver bucket, that's selling his skill set short. Waddle has tremendous ball skills, as well, and hauled in all four of his contested-catch opportunities this season." - PFF's Renner

CB Shaun Wade, Ohio State

2020 stats: 29 total tackles (21 solo), two interceptions, one defensive touchdown, three passes defensed in seven games.

"Wade hasn't been overly impressive for Ohio State in his first season playing mostly outside cornerback for the team, but he still presents a high floor as a playmaking box/safety player in the NFL. The former five-star recruit is an aggressive tackler who flies to the football when playing the run or shallow route concepts in front of him." - PFF's Austin Gayle

WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

2020 stats: 42 receptions for 660 yards and seven touchdowns.

"Olave was consistently matched up with Clemson's Derion Kendrick — a first-round hopeful in his own right — and came away the easy victor. He caught six of eight targets for 132 yards and two scores. In six games this year, Olave now has five 100-yard outings. He's one of the best route-runners in the draft and is proving it against top competition." - PFF's Renner

Below is a list of prospects to keep an eye on in tonight's game (rankings are based on ESPN's 2021 NFL Draft Player Rankings).

Alabama:

  • WR Devonta Smith
  • CB Patrick Surtain II
  • WR Jaylen Waddle
  • DT Christian Barmore
  • RB Najee Harris
  • QB Mac Jones
  • LB Dylan Moses
  • OL Alex Leatherwood
  • DT LaBryan Ray
  • CB Josh Jobe
  • G Deonte Brown
  • RB Brian Robinson Jr.

Ohio State:

  • QB Justin Fields
  • G Wyatt Davis
  • WR Chris Olave
  • CB Shaun Wade
  • LB Pete Werner
  • OLB Baron Browning
  • C Josh Myers
  • RB Trey Sermon

View photos of the top prospects that will play in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Alabama and Ohio State, according to draft experts.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock.

With the conclusion of the 2020 regular season and the start of the playoffs, the 2021 NFL Draft order is coming into focus. The Giants hold the No. 11 overall pick after finishing the season with a 6-10 record.

Below is a look at the draft order as it currently stands:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15)
  2. New York Jets (2-14)
  3. Miami Dolphins (via 4-12 Houston Texans)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1)
  6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1)
  7. Detroit Lions (5-11)
  8. Carolina Panthers (5-11)
  9. Denver Broncos (5-11)
  10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
  11. New York Giants (6-10)
  12. San Francisco 49ers (6-10)
  13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9)
  14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
  15. New England Patriots (7-9)
  16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
  17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8)
  18. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
  19. Washington Football Team (7-9)
  20. Chicago Bears (8-8)
  21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
  22. Tennessee Titans (11-5)
  23. New York Jets (via 12-4 Seattle Seahawks)
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

Notable 11th overall picks in NFL Draft history

Check out the gallery below to view photos of some notable players to be selected 11th overall, as well as the Giants' history with the 11th pick in the draft.

The Giants hold the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. View photos of notable players selected in that spot.

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