‘I Love Mike Tomlin:’ Alabama Safety Jordan Battle Meets With Steelers at NFL Combine

Alabama safety Jordan Battle is next up in the long line of Alabama safeties to become NFL pros. Battle, who played four years for the Crimson Tide and had six career interceptions, returned three of those for touchdowns. Speaking to reporters at the NFL Combine today, Battle said his mindset after he gets an interception takes him back to his youth football days.

“Every time I get the ball in my hands, I just think about little league, ‘cause that was the last time I play offense. When I get the ball in my hands, I just wanna score.”

Battle made the decision to come back to Alabama for his senior season after an impressive junior year where he racked up 85 tackles, three interceptions and three pass deflections as Alabama made it to the College Football Playoff Championship before losing to Georgia. Battle said his decision to come back was due to the community he felt at Alabama. Despite not competing in the College Football Playoff during his senior year, which would’ve made three in a row for him, he did graduate and played well, with 71 tackles, an interception and two pass deflections, solidifying his status as a potential late Day 1 or early Day 2 selection, although Day 2 is much more likely.

Battle also had a formal meeting with the Steelers at the combine, and he said it went well.

“That was a great meeting. I love Mike Tomlin. Mike Tomlin was in there, there was some great talks and just the relationship and just the vibe he had. I can tell that he’s a great head coach.”

If Battle is drafted by the Steelers, he would pair up with former Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick in the Pittsburgh secondary.

“That’ll be perfect. A guy who I look up to, obviously went to Alabama, Alabama legend. Just the way he plays the game, the range he has, the way he tackles, the versatility he has. That would be a great mentor for me.”

Battle said that his smarts on the field are among his biggest strengths.

“Trying to dissect the offense, trying to know what they’re gonna give me before the play, before the ball even snaps.”

He also said playing in the ball in the air is a strength, but he needs to work on attacking the ball.

“Sometimes my angles on tackles and running my feet through tackles, those are some of my weaknesses.”

Battle grew up in South Florida, where he played youth basketball with current draft prospects Zay Flowers and Kenny McIntosh, who he also faced off against in the College Football Playoff Championship in 2021 as McIntosh was a running back at Georgia. He was also coached by his dad during a season of youth football, and Battle credits his dad for helping him get to where he is today.

“He was my head coach. So always tough on me. He kind of got me to this stage and I think him and my mom didn’t miss a game my second last year and my last year of college.”

The Steelers’ need at safety depends on whether or not the team is able to re-sign one or both of Terrell Edmunds and Damontae Kazee, as both are impending free agents. But if the team ends up needing a safety, Battle might be the best true safety in the class. As he he said, he needs to be more aggressive as a tackler and he needs to do a better job sometimes with the ball in the air. But his coverage ability and smarts make him somebody who could excel next to Fitzpatrick in Pittsburgh’s defense.

Depending on how he tests, he could be a candidate to get drafted as high as No. 32, although I’d be more comfortable taking him later on Day 2. Alex Kozora gave him a third-round grade in his draft profile, and if he’s available for Pittsburgh in the third, and the team has a need at safety, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him be the pick.

Given that they’ve already met with him, there’s interest there, but it just really depends what the Steelers’ needs end up being at safety and whether or not the value is there with Battle. It’s a weaker safety class, so there’s always the chance that a safety-needy team could look to scoop up value ahead of where the Steelers or other teams have him ranked.

Either way, Battle seems like an impressive kid and he’s played a lot of high-level football for Nick Saban at Alabama. Whoever drafts him is going to wind up with a potential starting safety who could man the position for years to come.

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