Courtney Upshaw, NFL Draft 2012: Alabama Linebacker A Sure First-Rounder

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 06: Courtney Upshaw #41 of the Alabama Crimson Tide talks to the media at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 6, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. LSU and Alabama will play in the BCS National Championship on January 9th. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Alabama pass-rusher Courtney Upshaw is almost certain to go in the first round of the NFL Draft

As a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide's fantastic defense, Courtney Upshaw has been utilized in a number of different ways by Nick Saban. He's been effective on the inside and outside, both standing up and with his hand on the ground as a pass rusher. The senior pass-rusher didn't become a starter until his junior season, but he's shot up draft boards with his impressive performances.

SB Nation's NFL Draft blog Mocking The Draft seems to think that Upshaw's versatility is his best asset.

In Alabama's pro-style set, Upshaw was used both standing up and with his hand down last season. Versatility is one of Upshaw's biggest strengths. Against Auburn, for instance, Upshaw lined up on the weak and strong side, was used to spy Cam Newton option plays and with his hand down. Upshaw excels at taking on and shedding blockers.

Mocking The Draft currently has Upshaw as their 11th ranked player overall. At the NFL level, Upshaw probably projects as a 3-4 pass-rushing outside linebacker.

For more on the NFL Draft in general, Mocking the Draft has you covered and for all of your football needs, be sure to visit SB Nation's NFL hub.

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