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Deshaun Watson, Jonathan Allen lead list of NFL Draft prospects in 2017 national championship

And there are plenty of prospects in which the Bills could be interested.

Alabama and Clemson play in the national title game tonight in a highly anticipated rematch of last year’s championship, and, unsurprisingly, this outing is oozing with NFL draft prospects.

Although the Bills head-coach search is still ongoing, with the regular season being over, we’re technically in draft mode.

Here are the players worth keeping a close eye on tonight. They’re the top prospects in which Buffalo may be interested.

Tyrone Crowder, OG, Clemson

With Richie Incognito turning 34 in 2017, the Bills could be looking to groom his replacement at left guard. Crowder is a 6’2”, 340 bulldozer who wins with low-center-of-gravity and sheer power. Tonight is a big test for him against Alabama’s ridiculously talented and deep front seven, but Crowder has been a rock all season for the Tigers. He’ll likely go in one of the first few rounds of the 2017 draft.

Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

Robinson took over as Alabama’s starting left tackle after Cyrus Kouandjio went to the NFL. At 6’6” and 310 pounds, he has NFL left-tackle size yet he’s underwhelmed this season, particularly in pass protection. He has dominant traits as a run-blocker, which could intrigue the Bills, a team that may be in the market for, at the very least, a swing tackle.

Jadar Johnson, S, Clemson

A role player in 2014 and 2015, Johnson erupted in 2016 for Clemson as a starter. From his safety position he snagged five interceptions and had 53 tackles. The 6’0”, 210-pounder also defended seven passes. He’s a prospect the Bills could target in one of the middle rounds to add inject some youth into the safety contingent.

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Humphrey is the latest in a long line of recent Alabama cornerbacks who have first-round talent. He’s only a redshirt sophomore, so he could return to the Crimson Tide for at least another season. Then again, with five interceptions, 13 passes defended and three forced fumbles in his first two years in the SEC, it wouldn’t be totally foolish for him to go pro, especially if he fares well against Clemson’s talented group of receivers tonight.

Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson

Leggett is injured but should play tonight. He’s racked up 15 receiving touchdowns over the past two seasons for Clemson and averaged an impressive 16.4 yards per catch in 2016. He’d be a nice addition to the Bills’ No. 2 tight end group which currently consists of Nick O’Leary, Gerald Christian, Chris Gragg (if they choose to re-sign him.)

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Howard shows flashes of Jordan Reed-like dominance, but he’s been underutilized in his Alabama career. In last year’s championship game, the 6’6”, 250-pound tight end had five catches for 208 yards with two touchdowns. He averaged 15.8 yards per catch in 2015 — partly due to his monster national title game performance — and his average dipped to just 11.9 this season. Once the No. 1 tight-end recruit in the nation, the (untapped) talented is undoubtedly there with Howard. Buffalo has significant money tied up in Charles Clay for the next few years, but adding a big pass-catching option wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

A four-year contributor and two-year full-time starter for the Tigers, Tankersley has filled up the stat sheet in his collegiate career. Over the past two seasons, he has nine interceptions, 19 passes defended, and 95 total tackles. He’s listed at 6’1” and 200 pounds, which represents great size for an NFL corner. Even if Stephon Gilmore is retained — potentially on a franchise or transition tag — Tanklersley would be sound secondary depth for the Bills.

Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama

At 6’2” and 253 pounds, Anderson has an ideal SAM linebacker body type. He’s been a versatile second-level defender for Nick Saban, racking up 36 tackles for loss, 116 total tackles, and five forced fumbled since the start of 2014. Though they have slightly different skill sets, Anderson becomes a much more likely option for the Bills in the second or third round if they aren’t able or don’t want to re-sign Zach Brown.

Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson

There are more high-profile names playing in this national title tilt, yet Watkins has had a fine redshirt senior season playing a variety of spots on Clemson’s defensive line. Going into this game, he has 10.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, and four batted passes on the year. At 6’3” and 305 pounds, the Bills could view him as future interior linemate of Marcell Dareus. With a strong game tonight, Watkins could vault himself into the first round of the 2017 draft, if he’s not considered a Round 1 prospect already. No, defensive tackle isn’t near the top of Buffalo’s positional priorities this offseason. However, drafting solely based on need isn’t a smart idea, so the idea of Watkins landing in Buffalo shouldn’t be entirely ignored.

Tim Williams, LB, Alabama

As dangerous of a pass-rushing specialist as there is in college football, Williams burst onto the scene a year ago with 9.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. This season, the chiseled 6’3”, 252 pound edge-rusher has 9.0 sacks with 16.5 tackles for loss. He wins with blazing speed and surprising power around the corner. He’ll almost assuredly go in the first-round, and with Buffalo picking Shaq Lawson in Round 1 last year, Williams is a long-shot to be picked by the Bills, but you never know.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

If the Bills move on from Tyrod Taylor, expect to see the vast majority of mock drafts link Watson to Buffalo. Tyrod is much more elusive than Watson, but Clemson’s star quarterback is bigger at 6’2”, 215 and will enter the NFL with more gaudy statistics as a passer than Tyrod did coming out of Virginia Tech. Watson does provide a running threat, as Clemson utilizes him on many Cam Newton-like power QB draws and read-option plays. This season, he wasn’t able to build on a fantastic sophomore year, yet a completion percentage north of 67, and 82 passing touchdowns to just 32 interceptions will make him a desired quarterback prospect.

Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster has been Alabama’s most productive defender in 2016, and that’s saying something. Though he only has four sacks, he’s amassed 12 tackles for loss and 103 total tackles from his linebacker position. In 2015, he played in the mid 250s. This year, he shed 15 pounds to improve his speed and agility. At only 6’1”, Foster will probably get labeled a tweener by some, although his relentless playing style, burst, and top-level production will likely make him a first-round pick. There’s a good chance Buffalo’s will want to go elsewhere with its Round 1 pick.

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

The prototypical wideout the Bills need. For years now, Buffalo’s receivers have struggled in contested-catch situations, and much of that is due to a lack of size and arm length. Williams is 6’3” and 225 pounds with running-back like agility in the open field. He’s a master “back shoulder” wideout with tremendous body control and the ability to box out defenders on his way to making grabs outside his frame. Going into this game, Williams has 90 receptions for 1,267 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year.

Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama

It’ll be shocking if Allen is available when Buffalo goes on the clock at No. 10 overall, but I just couldn’t leave out this squeaky clean wrecking ball of a prospect. At 6’3” and 291 pounds, Allen is a quick-twitch defensive tackle with a refined array of pass-rushing moves, and a non-stop motor. He’s tallied an incredible 43.5 tackles for loss in his Alabama career heading into this game, and that includes 29.5 over his past two seasons with the Crimson Tide. In 2015, Allen had 12 sacks. This year, he has 9.5. He’s the front-runner to be the first interior defensive lineman off the board in the 2017 draft.