Phil Steele's venerated preseason magazine hits the stands in about a month, but he's slowly trickling out teasers. This week's data dump was the release of the 2015 Preseason All-s, and all-conference players.
The results are curious, to say the least. Here's how Alabama players fared:
1st Team: A'Shawn Robinson, Reggie Ragland
2nd Team: O.J. Howard, J.K. Scott
3rd Team: Derrick Henry, Ryan Kelly
4th Team: Eddie Jackson
1st Team: Derrick Henry, Ryan Kelly, Reggie Ragland, A'Shawn Robinson, Eddie Jackson, J.K. Scott
2nd Team: O.J. Howard, Jonathan Allen, Cyrus Jones
3rd Team: Reuben Foster
4th Team: Jarran Reed, Tony Brown, and finally Cameron Robinson
Say what you will about his season prognostications, but the player evaluation here is garbage or just plain weird. Just a few of my takeaways:
- What has O.J. Howard done in two years to justify such a high regard? Trust us, Phil, there is no one that wants O.J. to live up to his amazing potential quite like we do. He has potential, certainly, but we are talking about the best players at their position in the country. Howard may not even be the most best tight end in Tuscaloosa with the emergence of Ty Flournoy-Smith. And there are, for a certainty, two better ones just in the SEC West (Hunter Henry, Evan Engram.)
- What on earth did Cam Robinson do to Phil Steele? Robinson was a Freshman All-American playing left tackle. He's only getting better, not worse. Are there three better guys in the conference at his position? That's a tough sell, and just a plain swing-and-a-miss by Steele's crew.
- Finally, Eddie Jackson. Two years ago, the athletic, high-flying, high-energy Jackson was one of the more consistent performers in the defensive backfield. Last season, injuries and a rush back to the playing field greatly hindered his effectiveness. If he's the player he can be at a new position, he will be a fine safety. But, for now, to pin him as the best strong safety in the SEC, and the fourth best in the nation, is exceptionally premature (although we'd all love for that to be the case.)
Okay, tell us your snubs, curiosities, bizarre additions, and why he's wrong (or right, if you've been drinking.) The link is here.