Can the younger players that struggled at times with mental errors and poor tackling improve over the summer and provide the Tide with the quality depth it desperately needs in the middle of its defense? As the quarterbacks of said defense, the play and understanding of the inside linebackers are imperative to Alabama’s success on that side of the football. That’s why we saw the two oldest and most experienced players in the room lead the first team all spring long.
But UA needs those second- and third-team players to step up over the summer and during fall camp. It will add a scholarship body in summer enrollee Christian Harris, and that could spark some of the players battling for reserve roles. But as it was before the spring started, depth at inside linebacker is still one of the Crimson Tide’s top concerns as the offseason and summer arrive.
We’ve beat the topic of the middle linebackers to death around here over the last couple of months, and BamaOnline does a nice job here summarizing everything we’ve seen from the position group this spring.
Personally, I came away feeling pretty good about both Shane Lee and Josh McMillon, and I think Moody and Benton are both solid backups. Christian Harris will be interesting, as he played cornerback and safety, as well as linebacker, in high school— and as such will have a unique skill set when it comes to pass coverage.
Past Alabama Players Selected In The 1st Round
2018 - Minkah Fitzpatrick/DB - 11th/Miami
2018 - Da’Ron Payne/DL - 13th/Washington
2018 - Rashaan Evans/LB - 22/Tennessee
2018 - Calvin Ridley/WR - 26/Atlanta
2017 - Marlon Humphrey/DB - 16th/Baltimore
2017 - Jonathan Allen/DL - 17th/Washington
2017 - O.J. Howard/TE - 19th/Tampa Bay
2017 - Reuben Foster/LB - 31st/San Francisco
2016 - Ryan Kelly/C - 18th/Indianapolis
2015 - Amari Cooper/WR - 4th/Oakland
2014 - C.J. Mosley/LB - 17th/Baltimore
2014 - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix/DB - 21st/Green Bay
2013 - Dee Milliner/DB - 9th/NY Jets
2013 - Chance Warmack/G - 10th/Tennessee
2013 - D.J. Fluker/OT - 11th/San Diego
2012 - Trent Richardson/RB - 3rd/Cleveland
2012 - Mark Barron/S - 7th/Tampa Bay
2012 - Dre Kirkpatrick/CB - 17th/Cincinnati
2012 - Dont’a Hightower/LB - 25th/New England
2011 - Marcell Dareus/DT - 3rd/Buffalo
2011 - Julio Jones/WR - 6th/Atlanta
2011 - James Carpenter/OT -25th/Seattle
2011 - Mark Ingram Jr./RB - 28th/New Orleans
2010 - Rolando McClain/LB - 8th/Oakland
2010 - Kareem Jackson/CB - 20th/Houston
2009 - Andre Smith/OT - 6th/Cincinnati
2008 - No 1st round picks -
The linked article has a good bit of writing on all of Alabama’s 1st round picks over the years and, of course, the current hot button topic of juniors leaving early. But, I just quoted over the list, because I think it speaks louder than any amount of editorializing.
Recruits: Come to Alabama. You’ll likely be making serious money in four years.
In any case, the sacks Reed recorded during 2018 were roughly equally attributable to three parts:
Reed’s skill, whether through a power rush or his swim move,
Scheme, wherein Reed recorded a sack on a stunt, and
Coverage and effort, as the defensive backfield didn’t allow for a clear throwing target, and Reed’s motor and effort allowed him to record a sack.
Further, one key thing to note, and which will take some further digging, will be whether Reed’s sack total jumping in 2018 was largely a result of him being deployed differently during the season. During 2017 the Seahawks defensive line looked far different, with Reed likely playing much more in run support, and names like Michael Bennett, Dion Jordan and Sheldon Richardson seeing more snaps at defensive tackle in passing situations.
Jarran Reed was one of my favorite Alabama players of the Nick Saban era, and I’ve been ecstatic for the last three years as he’s continued to improve his game for Seattle. After falling into the second round of the draft due to concerns about his effectiveness in passing downs, Reed exploded in 2018 with 11 sacks and 24 QB hits from the interior of the line. This is a nice piece breaking down every single one of his sacks last season... and he made quite a few plays with swim moves and even a couple of speed rushes around the edge.
Not bad for just a run-stuffer, eh?
Rain halted a large number of Crimson Tide fans from attending A-Day this month, but Alabama still led the SEC in spring game attendance this year with nearly 10,000 more fans than Georgia. Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t at his best, not that there’s any reason to worry for the defending league champs who have reached the national championship game four consecutive seasons. Tagovailoa played four quarters, QB2 Mac Jones impressed and Nick Saban’s good on good philosophy was enjoyable for fans who saw plenty of action from Alabama’s first-teamers.
The Tide wound up in second place in the nation this year. There was a glut of contenders right around the 60k mark in attendance, with Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State, and Clemson all bunched up together. There was a 10k dropoff before the tier of Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Georgia, and then another 10k drop to the 10th place team, Florida.
And then there’s Nebraska. The Cornhuskers blew everyone out of the water with over 85,000 in attendance. They’re really buying into their shiny new National Championship-winning head coach, Scott Frost. /s
Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and Auburn associate head coach and defensive line coach Rodney Garner will be two of the key speakers at the 25th annual DEX Imaging/Reese’s Senior Bowl L’Arche Football Preview in Mobile.
The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the USA Mitchell Center on May 30. It benefits L’Arche Mobile, a Christian community where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together.
If you happen to be down by the bay and interested in this sort of thing, Sark will be speaking at the Senior Bowl’s season preview.
Aaaannnnd for the not so Gump news:
The ongoing federal corruption saga jumped the tracks from college basketball into the football realm.
And there’s local significance.
Marty Blazer, a cooperating federal witness who already pleaded guilty to wire fraud, made allegations under oath Tuesday of paying college football players. The schools he listed included Pittsburgh, Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Northwestern, North Carolina and … Alabama, according to reporters in the Manhattan courtroom.
The payments were made between 2000 and 2014, according to tweets from reporters in the courtroom. They would range from $100 to $3,000 a month via Western Union, CBS Sports reported.
Now, I’m no legal expert (flood Erik’s twitter with questions for that kind of expertise), but I’ll paraphrase what I’m reading here:
It probably won’t matter one bit. For one, this Blazer guy isn’t giving out names of players he payed, and the NCAA has no authority to make him. Even more importantly is that the NCAA doesn’t investigate stuff over four years old, unless they are part of a few exceptions— which basically amounts to Hugh Freeze-levels of continued bad behavior. Basically, this is one of those things that will probably only get brought up if Alabama is found to be doing a laundry list of other no-nos.
We’ll be ramping up the NFL draft coverage in the next couple of days, along with some long pieces on the myriad of rule changes coming up, so stay tuned.