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ANALYSIS: A'Shawn, Henry Enter NFL Draft; Howard, Allen Still Weighing Options

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No real surprises during today's press conference, aside from the indecision.

Still giddy.
Still giddy.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The most obvious decision ever

Why A'Shawn Robinson declared for NFL Draft, what Nick Saban told him | AL.com

"Playing in this conference and doing the things I've done has really helped me and prepared me," he said. "I think I bring a lot with everything I can do, I can do a little bit of everything. There are a lot of special players in the draft, but I feel like I do a lot of things better than other people."

Robinson, a finalist for the Outland Trophy, finished with 46 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hurries during his junior season. He was part of a talented defensive line that should produce at least one other first-round draft pick in senior Jarran Reed. Junior defensive end Jonathan Allen is also still weighing a jump to the NFL.

Saban said NFL teams liked Robinson's ability to stop the run and work out of either the one-gap or two-gap, but that he needed to improve his pass rush skills. He has yet to sign with an agent.

A'Shawn can use some work on his pass-rush; bull rushing won't beat NFL interior lines very often. If he becomes a true pass rush threat, and morphs into a dominant pro run-pass interior tackle that can play one- or two-gap, Robinson could be among the game's best.

Don't make him angry

Derrick Henry not happy with NFL draft grade, vows to be first-rounder | AL.com

Henry said he was given a second-round grade and didn't sound happy about it.

"I feel like, just because I got my grade, it doesn't mean I'm not going to be first round," Henry said. "I feel like what I do and how I test at the combine and work out. I feel like I will be first round. There's no doubt in my mind that I won't be." He plans to bring the same approach that brought him a Heisman Trophy and national championship.

"Nobody is going to outwork me," Henry said. "I'm going to push and work hard every day. I feel fee like hard work pushes you over the limit and makes you who you are. I'm going to work hard every day. Nobody is going to out-work me."

The last paragraph is a fact: no one is going to outwork Derrick Henry. Still, despite what will likely be unreal combine numbers, Henry's hands, slow run-up, and upright bearing are apt to make many teams pause, particularly those with an iffy offensive line that cannot help Henry get to the second level. Still, his strength, speed, vision, character, and decent footwork for such a big man will make more than a few teams drool at Pro Day.

Hard decisions

2 Alabama juniors still deciding whether to turn pro | AL.com

CBS Sports ranks Howard as the third-best NFL prospect among draft-eligible tight ends and projects he would be a second round pick in this year's draft. But sources tell AL.com that Howard is leaning toward returning to Alabama for his senior season.

Allen, who finished the year with 14.5 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks, received a second round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee, according to sources.

I'm not sure what the Draft Advisory committee is seeing where Jonathan Allen is a second rounder. Most draftniks have him as a first-round selection, for a reason. His speed, power, pass-rushing and ability to play the run are exceptional. I would be surprised to see Allen stay, frankly. Like Tim Williams, Eddie Jackson, and O.J. Howard, Allen's decision may simply come down to the economics and delayed gratification of it all. The lifespan of an NFL player is short -- it could make equal sense to monetize those skills by playing 15 more games at Alabama and entering the 2017 draft where the defensive line talent isn't quite as rich as this year.

O.J. Howard meanwhile has a tougher decision. There is no greater athlete at the position in this year's draft. Production simply asn't been there in the offense, nor has his blocking -- the latter a part of the overall knock on OJ, that he plays softer than he should. Howard may realize that another year of developing his all-around game, being featured more in the upcoming season, and generally becoming tougher may make millions of dollars of difference in 12 months.