We’re in that really weird preseason week where actual news of the Tide’s football team goes dead-silent until Saban begrudgingly releases his depth chart and we ramp up pre-game coverages.
For now, all we really have is some tidbits from Kendall Randolph:
“Ultimately, I just wanna be able to help my team any way possible,” Randolph said. “If that’s at tight, if that’s at guard or tackle, I just wanna be in a position and ready at any moment to get the job done.”
Over the last two weeks, Randolph has been the Crimson Tide’s primary left guard with the first unit. Last year’s starter Javion Cohen missed some time this summer while he focused on his mental health, and although Cohen has received some first-team reps, Randolph has seen the most work there of late. Randolph was the nation’s No. 12 guard for the 2017 cycle.
But while it is a familiar position, Randolph doesn’t prefer it over the other roles he has played.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s a comfort area,” Randolph said. “Ultimately, I’ve trained at guard and tackle, I’ve trained at tight end. So just being able to play Alabama football is the biggest goal.”
Should Randolph continue to work with the first-team offensive line in 11 days when Alabama opens the 2022 season against Utah State (6:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network), he would become the latest in a long line of 2017 signees to carve out a starting role for the Crimson Tide.
“Our 2017 class definitely was memorable,” Randolph said. “Being a part of that class, I’m definitely happy to be a part of that class. I still stay in contact with some of the guys. I’m glad they’re still able to do (what they do) at the next level. It’s been outstanding.”
Randolph is one of two super seniors on Alabama’s 2022 roster, along with linebacker Jaylen Moody, but he is the lone sixth-year senior. That distinction has resulted in his teammates calling him the grandpa of the team, but that nickname does not bother Randolph, who was born in 1998 – a fact that startles some of the younger players that were born after 2000.
To be totally honest, I thought Javion Cohen was the Tide’s second-best offensive lineman last year behind Evan Neal, so seeing him lose ground to Randolph has been a little weird. He always felt like more of a guard than a tackle though, and his time as a TE should have added to his skillset at blocking in space, making him a potential difference maker as a pulling lineman if Bill O’Brien wants to use that blocking style in the run game.
Alabama placed a league-leading 19 representatives on the 2022 Preseason Coaches All-Southeastern Conference Football Team, the SEC announced on Tuesday morning.
Georgia was second with 10 representatives, while Texas A&M had nine.
Eleven schools had at least one first-team, All-SEC representative, including a conference-best six from Alabama. All 14 SEC schools were represented on the Preseason All-SEC Team.
The Crimson Tide’s first-team honorees included quarterback Bryce Young, offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor, linebackers Will Anderson and Henry To’o To’o and defensive backs Jordan Battle and Eli Ricks. The second-teamers included running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who was also a second-team all-purpose player, wide receiver Jermaine Burton, tight end Cameron Latu, linebacker Dallas Turner, defensive back Malachi Moore and kicker Will Reichard.
Rounding out the team on the third team for Alabama was offensive linemen Javion Cohen and Tyler Steen, defensive linemen DJ Dale and Justin Eboigbe, defensive backs Brian Branch and Kool-Aid McKinstry and punt returner JoJo Earle.
Typically, I put more stock into the Coaches poll than I do most of the media pre-season polls, but this one, once again, proves that nobody pays attention to Alabama’s backfield.
Eli Ricks is listed as first team All-SEC, and he, thus far, hasn’t managed to win the starting job opposite of Kool-Aid McKinstry, who is way down on the 3rd team.
Meanwhile, Malachi Moore is listed as a 2nd-team All-SEC back, even though he was replaced in the starting lineup early in 2021 by Brian Branch, who is only listed as 3rd team.
I also find it rather entertaining that Kentucky QB Will Levis is listed as the 4th best QB in the SEC, and yet the NFL draft twitter crowd is going absolutely bonkers over the guy and treating him like a top-15 pick next year.
Speaking of the NFL, Alabama’s alumni have been quite busy in the preseason, and Charlie Potter did the hard work here to keep you up to date:
The second week of NFL preseason games has come and gone, and Alabama was again well represented, as several former Crimson Tide standouts were contributors across the league.
A lot of players still watched from the sidelines, but a number of former Alabama starts saw the field, as well. Tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Cam Sims both scored touchdowns for their respective teams, while cornerback Tony Brown intercepted a pass for the Colts.
In transaction news, safety Jared Mayden was waived/injured by the Eagles ahead of the Week 2 slate of games. The Giants placed wide receiver Robert Foster on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. Offensive lineman Chris Owens, an undrafted rookie free agent, was cut by the Steelers but was picked up by the Giants on Friday and then suited up on Sunday.
There are 74 former Alabama players currently on NFL rosters, and the only teams that don’t have an ex-Crimson Tide player on their payroll are Kansas City, San Francisco and Seattle.
Well the NFC West clearly has a bias against Alabama here. Although I’m sure Seattle would probably sacrifice at least three Starbucks franchises to secure Bryce Young in 2023.
We also had some more transactions later in the day:
Players from Alabama high schools and colleges who appeared on Tuesday’s NFL transactions report included:
· Wide receiver Slade Bolden (Alabama) was waived with an injury designation by the Baltimore Ravens.
· Running back Kenyan Drake (Alabama) was released by the Las Vegas Raiders.
· Running back Derrick Gore (Alabama) was placed on injured reserve by the Kansas City Chiefs.
· Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (Carver-Montgomery, Alabama) was released by the Detroit Lions.
· Wide receiver John Metchie III (Alabama) was placed on reserve/non-football illness by the Houston Texans.
· Wide receiver Jameson Williams (Alabama) was placed on reserve/non-football injury by the Detroit Lions.
Most of these are pretty straight-forward. Metchie and Jamo will both have to wait until at least game 4 before they can make their appearance in the NFL, and are easily placed on the NFI list since they were injured before being drafted. For Bolden, it’s a little different. He was “waived”, but he’ll revert to IR like Metchie and Jamo IF no other teams want to claim him to their rosters.
Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake was just straight up released:
The Las Vegas Raiders released running back Kenyan Drake on Tuesday, and the former Alabama standout wasn’t surprised — not because the impending transaction had been widely reported on Monday, but because he had seen during training camp that “there really wasn’t a role for me.”
“I felt like the writing has been on the wall recently, like within the last two to three weeks,” Drake told Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. “I never felt like I had a fair shot to really compete for the job coming off the injury. At the end of the day, that’s business. …
“I feel like as time progressed through camp, there really wasn’t a role for me to have anymore because they had guys they brought in, they traded for, and I was kind of the odd man out, especially coming off my injury.”
The Raiders already have Josh Jacobs as the #1 running back as their first round pick from a few years ago, and they drafted Georgia’s Zamir White in this draft. Add in free agents Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden as hybrid receiver/returner back-types, and Drake just found himself on the outside looking in.
After a highly productive couple of years with the Dolphins and Cardinals, Drake fizzled his final season in Arizona and never really became the 1-2 punch with Jacobs that Vegas had hoped.
Running backs can very quickly find themselves falling from grace in the NFL (as opposed to coaches and QBs, who just keep getting new jobs no matter how bad they are), so hopefully Drake is able to find a team in need of some depth, sign for veteran minimum, make some noise when the starter inevitably gets hurt, and then gets one more decent free agent deal in 2023.