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Jumbo Package: Tide looking for someone to break out at WR

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 10 CFP National Championship Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Even Nealis looking more and more like the top pick in the NFL Draft.

The Jacksonville Jaguars own the top pick in the draft and have a list of needs longer than a marathon of Ken Burns documentaries. Among those needs is an offensive tackle to protect last year’s number one, quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Ekwonu capitalized on Neal’s combine opt-out by dazzling scouts with a 4.93 40. The 6-4, 310 lb. lineman entered the combine as +400 to be the first overall pick and ended up chopping his price by more than half.

Although 43.7% of the money is on Neal’s name being called first, people wagering on his draft position prop aren’t so convinced, as evidenced by the 98% of public money betting over 1.5. Ninety-four percent of bettors are taking the under on Ekwonu’s line of 3.5.

Alabama has never had a #1 overall pick. Bryce Young and Will Anderson are both top candidates next season, but Neal may well get there first.

Outgoing Tide players seem convinced that Ja’Corey Brooks will be ready for a big role in the fall.

“I would say all of them, but one guy that sticks out to me the most is Ja’Corey Brooks,” Williams said.

Added Metchie: “The receiver room is just as full as ever. All the guys are young. I think C7 — Ja’Corey Brooks — will be good. But I think the receiver room is just as full as ever.”

Cornerback Josh Jobe, also at the NFL combine, provided the same name when posed with the question of who gave him the most trouble at practice among Alabama’s current receivers.

“I’d say Brooks,” Jobe said. “He’s a very good receiver. He’s tall, physical. He runs routes well.”

If Brooks is able to build on a relatively successful stretch run, he and Jermaine Burton could be quite formidable.

Speaking of WRs, Isaiah Bond brings some serious speed to the table.

Tony Tsoukas has some breakout candidates for you.

Arguably the only chink in Alabama’s armor comes in its ability to provide interior pressure. Last season, Phidarian Mathis filled that role, recording nine sacks and 12 tackles for a loss to go with six quarterback hurries. Now that he’s made way for the NFL, the Crimson Tide will need to find someone else to wreak havoc up front.

Tim Smith appears to be Alabama’s best shot of picking up that slack. The 6-foot-4, 304-pound defensive tackle recorded half a sack and five tackles for a loss over 282 defensive snaps last year. He should get more opportunities to cause mayhem this season.

We’ve been hearing about Smith since he arrived, and he has flashed. Hopefully he is ready for the leap that Quinnen Williams and Christian Barmore made in year three. WR Traeshon Holden made Tony’s list as well.

Calvin Ridley cost himself millions of dollars by betting on NFL games.

The NFL announced Ridley had been suspended indefinitely, but he will be eligible to file for reinstatement starting on Feb. 15, 2023.

The NFL said its investigation had uncovered no evidence that Ridley had used or shared inside information or that any game had been compromised by his gambling activities.

Ridley responded to the NFL’s announcement via his Twitter account, writing: “I bet 1500 total. I don’t have a gambling problem,” “I couldn’t even watch football at that point,” and “Just gone be more healthy when I come back.”

So, so stupid.

Jusaun Holt didn’t make the trip to Baton Rouge on Saturday for disciplinary reasons of some sort, but will apparently play in Tampa.

“I met with him yesterday,” Oats told local reporters via Zoom. “It was his birthday, which it’s unfortunate everything happened around his birthday weekend. But we had a good meeting. He’s back in practice. I thought he practiced really hard today. He’ll be making the trip to Tampa with us provided that tomorrow’s practice goes well and then we get out of here tomorrow after practice. So he’s back in, and I thought he was really good today.”

Former Tide star Mo Williams has decided to be Deion Sanders’ counterpart.

Alabama State basketball coach Mo Williams, who played 14 seasons in the NBA and won an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, is returning home to be the next coach at Jackson State, according to a report Monday from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

Last, March Madness is among us. Check out this unreal finish to the SoCon title game.

You can feel the rollercoaster of emotions on both sides. Congrats to the Mocs.

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

Roll Tide.