Could Jahleel Billingsley Still Declare For The 2022 NFL Draft?

Alabama Crimson Tide TE Jahleel Billingsley. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Alabama Crimson Tide TE Jahleel Billingsley. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

It wasn’t the season many were expecting for Alabama TE Jahleel Billingsley, but could he still declare for the 2022 NFL Draft?

There were big expectations for tight end Jahleel Billingsley entering his junior season for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He only caught 18 passes in 2020, but had a ton of pass catchers slated in front of him for targets, most notably Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, John Metchie III, and Najee Harris.

Still, Billingsley made many take notice with the few catches he did make, especially in the College Football Playoff. At 6’4″ and 230 pounds, he was part tight end, part wide receiver, with impressive athleticism, route running prowess, and ball skills, along with the ability to survive contact over the middle of the field.

Many believed a big step was in store in 2021, especially with all the vacated targets. Billingsley could end up being a factor inline and in the slot. However, he caught some flak from head coach Nick Saban before the season with effort concerns, and entered the proverbial “dog house”. With the breakout of Jameson Williams, the steady play of Slade Bolden, and the emergence of Cameron Latu, Billingsley didn’t get much footing, only catching 16 passes in the regular season. He did catch a pass against Cincinnati Friday in the semifinal, but still remains an afterthought in the passing game.

So, should Jahleel Billingsley still move on and declare for the 2022 NFL Draft? At this point, the smart answer is no. He hasn’t become a major factor in the passing game, and despite the athletic talents, it seems like there’s still a maturation process to go through for him. It would be best for him to return and grow on this Alabama team and work to become one of the go-to guys in 2022. He’s shown some flashes as a blocker, and can be a matchup nightmare with a jump next season.