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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

It’s always Draft season at Alabama

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Georgia Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

At Alabama’s Pro Day, the next crop of stars watch and wait for their turn

Yet once Williams’ stock began to soar as a redshirt sophomore, he was able to quickly gather information on the pre-draft process and lean on other Alabama players who have gone through the same experience — namely his predecessor with the Crimson Tide, Da’Ron Payne.

“We followed the same pattern almost,” Williams said. “He played the same position, going the first round the same way…He’s from Birmingham. I am from Birmingham…I looked up to him since I was a little kid.”

And now Williams is quick to point out he’s in the same position as Payne was this time last year. Twelve months from now, some of the current Alabama players watching the Crimson Tide’s Pro Day may be able to say the same thing as they anticipate a future that’s all but guaranteed to be realized.

Josh Jacobs and Mack Wilson were the two big names at Alabama’s Pro Day yesterday, and neither one performed particularly well— but nor were they bad enough to hurt their draft stock.

Sidenote: There’s been some talk in NFL Twitter circles about Alabama players’ performance in combines lately, so stay tuned for a piece on this topic later this week.

The cool bit in the article linked above, though, is how much work Alabama does for their players in preparing them a year in advance for the spotlight and circus that is NFL Draft season.

Alabama juniors share experiences from Elite Football Symposium

Almost immediately after the 2019 NFL Draft, though, the focus will shift to 2020 and the players that could leave school early for professional careers. While it’s still too early to tell exactly who will forego their senior seasons, an event that took place simultaneously alongside the NFL Scouting Combine can shed light on some of the top 2020 prospects, especially for the Crimson Tide.

Six current Alabama players were in Indianapolis at the beginning of the month for the NCAA’s Elite Football Symposium, which is now in its third year of existence, including juniors Tua Tagovailoa, Najee Harris, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Dylan Moses and senior Raekwon Davis.

“I think it was a good experience, a great experience, especially for guys like us who had that opportunity to go out and experience things before we actually do experience it,” Tagovailoa said Monday afternoon. “How agents work, and agents can come in many forms.

Here’s some quotes from some of the juniors that got to go to Indianapolis to watch some of the combine process. Again, it’s just great to see the resources being used to help these young college students in preparing for their professional career.

Alabama Football: Allow the freshmen to do freshmen things

Personally, my hope is the only expectation we have for this incoming class of youngsters, especially the ones on campus for spring practice, is they push the guys in front of them to improve. At the end of the day, that is the only thing we should expect. We should expect that Christian Barmore and Stephon Wynn keep eyes in the back of their heads due to the mere presence of Alfano and fellow enrollee Justin Eboigbe.

We should expect sophomore corner Josh Jobe to be on alert for the elite athleticism of Scooby Carter. Or Alex Leatherwood for Neal. Or Josh McMillon for Shane Lee. We should hope the older guys reach their potential because they know there are some really eager freshmen nipping at their heels.

Such a giant and talented recruiting class, combined with the record number of early departures for the NFL this year, will inevitably lead to many rumors, speculations, and expectations flying around about which hot-shot freshmen might be the next stars on the Tide’s 2019 team. All-Access: Can Alabama be great in football & basketball at the same time?

It’s really among the stranger trends in college sports.

How can an Alabama athletic department that has achieved so much in football — as well as in softball, gymnastics, golf and other sports — continue to underachieve in basketball? Is it possible for a football-first school to succeed in both?

The answer, of course, is “yes.” We’ve seen other “football” schools — notably Florida and LSU in the SEC, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Michigan nationally — be able to put excellent basketball teams on the court for extended periods.

But it’s odd that is seems so rare at Alabama. I don’t really have an explanation as to why, but the fact is, it’s true.

We’ve already been discussing this subject ad naseum here in the comments at RBR, so I’m linking this one just to stir the pot a little.

What do you think? Is it even possible? How would you go about fixing things?

Report: Former Alabama QB AJ McCarron signing deal with fourth NFL team

Alabama QB AJ McCarron had a rough 2018 season. After signing with the Buffalo Bills last offseason, he thought he would get to be a starter for the first time in his career.

Instead, he spent much of the summer injured and then lost the starting job to rookie Josh Allen. After that, he was shipped off to the Oakland Raiders, where he was a backup for the 2018 season.

Now, he’s reportedly found a new NFL home. Per’s Ian Rapoport, McCarron will sign with the Houston Texans to be Deshaun Watson’s backup.

AJ is on to his 4th NFL team, and is back to being a top backup, rather than a potential starter. His career likely hasn’t gone quite as he wanted or expected, but a career journeyman QB in the NFL is not a job to sniff at. Just ask Ryan Fitzpatrick. It may not be quite as glorious, but if AJ sticks around, he’ll eventually get his chance to shine.

That’s it for now.

Roll Tide!