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Jumbo Package: Pros, Recruiting, and Najee Harris

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Calvin Ridley gets a big contract and Bama gets a new commit for 2019

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Roots: State’s 2018 NFL Draft picks sign contracts worth $108.7 million

Ridley, the 26th player picked in the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26, was one of the 21 choices in this year’s draft who played football at Alabama high schools and colleges, and he was the last to sign his contract.

Each drafted player gets a four-year contract, and the range in the total value of those deals for the state’s players in the 2018 draft stretches from around $16.4 million to about $2.5 million. The approximate value of the 21 contracts is $108.7 million.

That’s a LOT of money. I’d really like to see where that ranks against other states. I’m sure it would be behind Georgia, Florida, Texas, and California, but I would place my bets on Alabama being in 5th place.

The highest paid member is Minkah Fitzpatrick, who just signed a 4-year $16.5 million dollar fully guaranteed contract, $10 million of which is a signing bonus.

Washington Redskins like Da’Ron Payne’s DNA

Washington defensive-line coach Jim Tomsula wanted the Redskins to add Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne in the NFL Draft in April. They did -- with the 13th overall pick -- and Washington’s offseason program showed Tomsula that Payne was just what the coach thought the player would be.

”I’ve watched the guy for two years,” Tomsula said. “A guy I was really excited about trying to get. He’s athletic, smart, and I like his DNA. I like who he is as a guy. The difference between confidence and arrogance is ignorance. I’ve got to have real confident guys, but you can’t cross over and be an arrogant guy because then you’re just ignorant. He’s got that confidence. He doesn’t say a lot, and he just loves football.”

Payne is the second-highest paid draftee this year behind Fitzpatrick, and is already garnering rave reviews from the Redskins’ coaching staff and players. He’s apparently already making waves by holding some awesome 1 on 1 battles with pro-bowl offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, and looks to be on track to win the starting job as a 3-4 defensive tackle.

Alabama gets midnight commitment from 4-star DE

Byron Young didn’t wait around for sunrise.

The defensive end from Laurel, Mississippi went right ahead and made his college commitment right at midnight on July 4.

He went with Alabama.

The four-star recruit ranked 121st overall in the Class of 2019 became the 18th to give his commitment to the Crimson Tide’s No. 1 class. Young made the announcement on Twitter in a post published right at midnight.

If you weren’t paying attention, you might have missed Young’s commitment last night. I know I did.

The current defensive line depth for Alabama is already limited, and the 2018 class was shorted a player when Bobby Brown played games and decommitted at the last second. So, Nick Saban is now at 4 defensive linemen for the 2019 class, and showing no signs of slowing down.

Every College Football Playoff Contender’s Biggest Flaw

In most preseasons, trying to find a potential flaw in Alabama is about as simple as searching for a four-leaf clover or a needle in a haystack. After so many consecutive years of Nick Saban getting just about whatever he wants in recruiting, there’s so much talent on the roster that it’s almost impossible to point to any position and say, “Oh yeah, that’s going to be a problem.”

However, this year—even though the Crimson Tide are favored to win it all—it is abundantly clear where their downfall is most likely to originate: the secondary.

This unit was anchored by Minkah Fitzpatrick, Levi Wallace, Anthony Averett, Ronnie Harrison, Hootie Jones and Tony Brown last season, but not one of those six defensive backs remains on the roster.

As a result, the Crimson Tide are effectively starting over from scratch. Former wide receiver Trevon Diggs, incoming transfer Saivion Smith and scarcely used players like Daniel Wright, Xavier McKinney and Jared Mayden are all strong candidates for starting jobs.

Sure, we all know about the secondary and its potential problems this upcoming season.

More fun is that Bleacher Report is also picking out a major source of doubt in every other top-10 team. Clemson in particular is in what might be as heated a QB controversy with Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence as Alabama is with Jalen/Tua.

Top recruit Najee Harris eagerly awaits bigger role at Alabama

Harris grew up on the West Coast, bouncing between the Bay Area and Seattle before settling in Antioch for his high school years. He became accustomed to smoking-hot summer days on the delta, but it’s not the South.

Harris spent much of last summer and most of this June in Tuscaloosa, Ala., immersed in training, and he routinely awoke at 5 or 5:30 a.m. for workouts. His first step outside still reminded him he was no longer in Northern California.

“It’s humid as hell, man,” Harris said, a sense of wonder in his voice. “We don’t have anything like that here. I’m telling you, that humidity over there in the summer? That’s no joke.”

The weather might count as the biggest difference, but Harris soon realized the abundant contrasts between the Bay Area and Alabama. People are nicer in the South, he said, but he likes California food much better. He struggles to find good Chinese or Mexican food in Tuscaloosa.

“It’s different,” Harris said of life in Alabama. “I’m still getting used to everything. It’s a slower lifestyle than California.”

This is a really good piece with quite a few good quotes from Najee Harris about his freshman year at Alabama and getting acclimated to his move from California to Alabama. He talks about how he struggled early on with his lack of playing time, few friends, and academics.

I’d advise giving this one a click. It’s a long read, but definitely worth it.

Also, Najee mentions that he is 6’2” 230 with 0% body fat. That’s not normal.