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Jumbo Package: Assessing stock of Alabama’s draft eligibles in case of opt-outs

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Alabama Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. This package will be a little less jumbo today, as news is very light. As always, we give you what we have. First off, Mike Rodak asked some NFL execs about the stock of Alabama’s draft eligible returnees should they decide to sit out the season.

AL.com asked a pair of high-ranking NFL personnel executives for their perspective on the topic. One noted that wide receiver DeVonta Smith, running back Najee Harris and offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood would all be fine for next year’s draft if they did not play this season.

Another agreed that Smith would be in good standing in the eyes of scouts based on his tape through his junior season, while he wanted to see more games from Harris and cornerback Patrick Surtain to better evaluate their speed.

I very badly want to see all of these players play, but nobody could possibly begrudge anyone for choosing to sit out. I will continue to argue for the players who very much want to play knowing the situation, and that there should be an acceptable opt-out for any player who is uncomfortable.

I do wonder if the year of the ‘Rona will start a trend of guys entering their third seasons choosing to opt out. I doubt it will ever be a major issue on contending teams since athletes are generally driven by that ring as much as anything else, but players on teams who have little chance of winning anything major may well just decide to go get an agent and be done with it.

Jedrick Wills is pretty much going to have to be the left tackle in Cleveland this year.

“I don’t know that the plan has changed with him other than you don’t get those four opportunities to teach and get reps,” Stefanski said. “No, the plan hasn’t changed. We are keenly aware that we have a young player over there at left tackle. Trust me, his development is something that we will be very much on top of. We just have to work.

“Like I mentioned earlier, we have to make sure every one of these days counts. Every one of these periods and every one of these lifting sessions, you have to make them all count. It is a shorter runway, but I think we can really get to where we need to get to just like we would in a normal training camp.”

The Browns pretty much cut all of his competition in the offseason, so he is it. This is a tough situation for a rookie to be in, but if anyone can handle it, he can. Good luck, big Jed.

The Big 12 decided that, like the ACC, they too can play a non-conference game.

The model gives the Big 12 the flexibility to move back the Big 12 Dr Pepper Championship game to Dec. 12 or 19.

“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward. However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”

This tells me that money was more of a driving factor than safety for the SEC’s decision not to play those rivalry games, and that is disappointing.

Trendon Watford eschewed surefire first round status to return to LSU for another season.

All of those wringing hands over players being exploited in the face of the ‘Rona must struggle with these players willfully returning to play. It will be fun to see Bruner and FrenTchi go against him.

Last, this principal has clearly found his calling in life. He would never, ever have made it as a rapper, but I bet kids love going to his school.

Great stuff, and outstanding leadership.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.