Happy Tuesday, everyone. Bill Bender at Sporting News put out an early ranking, with Alabama atop the list.
Alabama had six first-round selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, but “The Process” continues with Nick Saban. Bryce Young takes over at quarterback, and it’s up to new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to make the pieces fit around him with running backs Trey Sanders and Jase McClellan, receivers John Metchie and Slade Bolden and tight end Jahleel Billingsley. Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams can contribute at receiver, too. The defense should improve, as well, especially at linebacker: Tennessee transfer Henry To’oto’o joins what could be the best linebacker corps in the nation alongside Will Anderson Jr., Christopher Allen and Christian Harris, who combined for 31.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks in 2020. The season opener against Miami in Atlanta should be fun, and there are road tests at Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn. Like we say every year, the season does not start until Alabama loses.
Emphasis mine, and what a great line that is. Saban owns this sport, folks.
David Pollack spoke about Georgia’s coping with The Alabama Problem.
Pollack, a former Georgia star, joined the Jboy Show podcast last week to talk about Smart’s Bulldogs and dealing with that Tide mindset.
“I think you battle that, of course,” Pollack said. “Ever since you’ve blown some leads against them and had some opportunities to win. Alabama’s the standard for everybody. Everybody’s trying to clear that hurdle. You’ve also been the most successful team against them and had some chances to win the national championship, chances to win the SEC Championship. You kind of blown opportunities and done it in a variety of ways.”
Not sure how David defines “most successful,” but it’s fair to say that Clemson, LSU, and Auburn have been more successful vs. Alabama than Georgia in the Kirby era. Last I checked, Kirby has lost every time to Saban and the most recent game wasn’t close.
Bryce Young’s high school QB coach is impressed with his growth.
Kelly has spent the last month working with Young twice a week following the spring season and has noticed a more confident player than when he last saw Young this past season.
“His arm looks strong while he’s been out here for the last month,” Kelly told BamaOnLine. “He’s looked fast, strong, and I see more of a confidence with him, just with the way he’s talking and talking about the summer program and how he’s excited to get back and get those player-run practices going and building his relationship with (Bill) O’Brien.
“There’s just a new confidence that I see about him versus when I saw him back in December — just a little, maybe, like unsure about what the next few months are gonna look like. Now that he’s gone through spring, I think he’s back to himself and he’s ready to cut it loose.”
Something tells me that by midseason a lot of folks are going to feel silly for ever doubting young Bryce.
The Jags were very high on Jaylen Waddle.
At about the 6:51 mark of Chapter 3, you can see Jaguars owner Shad Khan placing Lawrence’s draft magnet at the top of the board. His draft grade clearly read 8.0, which apparently is very high. We know this because Yahoo Sports pointed out draft grades for several other prospects Jacksonville had on its board. There was another 8.0 grade, however, and that was former Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
That is an interesting nugget.
Last, things have gone from bad to worse with Julio and the Falcons after he told Shannon Sharpe that “he’s outta there,” though reports have surfaced that he requested a trade months ago. The Pats are a leading contender, but Derrick Henry has been politicking for him in Tennessee, too.
There is an obvious connection between these organizations now, with former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith now head coach of the Falcons. He knows that Tennessee roster inside out and there may be some young, cheap players he covets who aren’t exactly frontline guys for the Falcons right now. And the Titans lost a top tight end and their No. 2 receiver in an offseason that saw quite a few defections at multiple positions, frankly. Those players left by and large because the Titans didn’t want to pay what the market would, so grabbing a $15M receiver at this stage of the game would surprise me. I’m not sure that is where they are as an organization right now, knowing AJ Brown is going to be making top five WR money soon enough. It’s worth noting that Spotrac has them last in the NFL in receiver payroll for 2021, but seems to me that is kind of by design knowing Brown is going to be ready for a megadeal come January. They have close to $200M already committed to payroll and that might be what they are comfortable with.
Considering the proximity to Alabama, adding Julio to Henry and Rashaan Evans would probably generate quite a bit of interest from Tide fans.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.