Courtney Upshaw of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a defensive stop against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The New York Jets are projected to select Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, according to SB Nation's 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
Upshaw notched 46 tackles and 8.5 sacks during his senior season to help lead Alabama to the BCS National Championship Game. The 6-2, 265-pounder is a powerful force rushing off the edges, though he might struggle in pass coverage due to a lack of elite speed.
Alabama linebackers are good, really good, and Upshaw is the top 3-4 outside linebacker in this year's draft. For all the bluster about how great the Jets' defense was, they lack pass rushers. Upshaw fills that need.
Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline sees Upshaw as a "play-making machine" and one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft.
The Tide's top pass-rusher is a playmaking machine who has NFL scouts excited. He's a powerful defender who lines up in a three-point stance or stands up over tackle. Upshaw defeats blocks to make plays behind the line of scrimmage and effectively defends the run. He projects as a one-gap defensive end in a four-man line or as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.