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Jumbo Package: Wednesday, March 7

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DJ Fluker, mock drafts, and some Daboll backstory

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Fluker sends goodbye message to fans, thanks Chargers after being released

If Fluker had stayed with the Chargers, his 2017 salary would have been tied with the New York Giants' Justin Pugh for the highest for an NFL guard (based on current contracts). He got that $8.821 million figure when the Chargers picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract in April. Under NFL rules, Fluker's option-year salary equaled the average of the third through 25th highest-paid offensive linemen in the 2016 season.

D.J. Fluker has been a pretty good guard for the Chargers. He hasn’t been great, and probably hasn’t quite lived up to his 1st round draft status, but he’s definitely been an effective NFL lineman, something that is in a dire shortage in the NFL right now.

The Chargers decided that a decent guard was not worth the big contract, and decided to move on. I can’t fault them for the decision. However, I’d expect Fluker to be a hot commodity in free agency. The draft is, overall, one of the weaker O-line draft classes, and many teams are really hurting for more blockers.

Alabama must handle 'prosperity' to have shot in SEC tourney

But what happens if the Tide wins its first game and maybe its second?

Johnson grinned.

"We need a game," he said. "We just need a game. There is no looking beyond our first game. Our tournament is our first game... We're not thinking about two games in a row or three games in a row. We're thinking about the first four minutes of Game 1 and then the next four minutes. If you think about two or three games, we're not that good to do that."

Avery Johnson has been properly Processed.

That aside, CAJ makes some interesting remarks about how his team has had a tendency to follow up big wins with terrible losses this season. He notes that the team seems to lock into their film study and attention to details better after losses.

Anyway, the Tide would have to go on an unprecedented streak and win the SEC tournament to make the NCAA dance this this year.

'It's come full circle': The path that brought Brian Daboll to Alabama

Mangini deadpanned as he was discussing Daboll's lack of success as an NFL offensive coordinator: "It's amazing how a good quarterback makes you that much better as a coach..."

Under Daboll, the Browns ranked last out of the NFL's 32 teams in total offense in 2009 and then 29th in 2010. The Miami Dolphins were 22nd in total offense under Daboll in 2011 and Daboll's 2012 Kansas City Chiefs offense ranked 24th.

Not good. There's something important to keep in mind, though.

The quarterbacks Daboll had as an offensive coordinator is a group consisting of Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy, a 35-year old Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Matt Moore, Chad Henne, J.P. Losman and Matt Cassel.

This is a great journalistic piece by Matt Zenitz, as he tracked down a number of NFL guys and other former co-workers of Daboll’s to put together a bit of a coaching backstory on Alabama’s new OC.

He was actually a defensive back in high school, so Daboll brings some insider knowledge of an opposing defense to the Tide offense and strategy.

I’m still not sure what to expect of Daboll, but this article does make me feel a little better about the hire.

1st post-combine mock draft by SI has Alabama setting 1st-round record

The mock draft includes 12 SEC players overall in the first round, including six from Alabama:

* Allen at No. 4.

* Humphrey at No. 6.

* Offensive tackle Cam Robinson to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 15.

* Tight end O.J. Howard to the New York Giants at No. 23.

* Linebacker Reuben Foster to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 27.

* Linebacker Tim Williams to the New England Patriots at No. 32.

We’re in the heart of Mock Draft season, now that the combine is over. Get used to all the hot takes over the next month about NFL prospects. There will be anonymous scouts and GMs playing the subterfuge game of talking prospects up/down to try and influence where other teams might take the prospect.

As for this one, I don’t see it happening. Jonathan Allen should be a top 5 pick, but I also think that Reuben Foster will be top 15. I don’t think Marlon Humphrey will go top 10 either, but will be more along the lines of late 1st-2nd round. And I think Tim Williams will slide a little more than many of us expect after his sub-par combine and one-role play style.

25 things for spring: College football has changed so much in such little time

Spring games I’d most like to see: Alabama and Florida State -- if only because of the talent and lead in to their Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. In five of the last six years, Alabama and FSU have either won the national championship or played in the title game. They are the two winningest programs of the last seven years. Those two spring games might as well be a window on the season and a possible CFP Semifinal.

A good, light read on a myriad of opinions about the landscape of college football right now. Alabama gets mentioned quite often in this one, with everything from the new offensive coordinator to having three of the best running backs in the nation, not including the incoming Najee Harris.

On top of that, the opener against Florida State is huge. Thus far, Nick Saban has excelled in opening games, but I’m already beginning my annual ritual of worrying the entire offseason about it.