Projecting Alabama’s depth chart after spring practice
The Tide will return to the practice field in August ahead of its opener against Miami.
Alabama had about 20 players injured or otherwise not available for its spring football game last weekend, prompting coach Nick Saban to offer a preemptive disclaimer not to read too much into the depth chart from the game.
“What you see in this game really doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of trying to figure out the depth chart and all that,” he said last week. “Because there’s going to be a lot of guys missing and so how we play guys in this game doesn’t necessarily mean anything relative to the [upcoming season].”
However, Saban did tell ESPN’s broadcast crew that there 12 players missing from the game who would have shown up on Alabama’s two-deep, and the game did offer some general clues about what opportunities might be available for players after 15 spring practices.
Here is an estimation of Alabama’s depth chart of scholarship players before the team reconvenes for fall camp:
Quarterback: Bryce Young, Paul Tyson, Jalen Milroe
The biggest question is whether Milroe, the freshman from Texas, will eventually take over the No. 2 duties. ESPN’s broadcast crew Saturday relayed extensive positive reviews of Milroe, who was not available to play in the spring game, from both coaches and players.
Running back: Brian Robinson, Roydell Williams, Jase McClellan, Keilan Robinson (also wide receiver), Trey Sanders, Kyle Edwards, Camar Wheaton*
Robinson, who was not available to play Saturday, figures to be the starter but there is a deep group of players behind him competing for carries. Williams, a sophomore, drew positive reviews this spring. Sanders, when he returns to health, has the talent to get on the field.
Wide receiver: John Metchie, Slade Bolden, Javon Baker, Traeshon Holden, Agiye Hall, Xavier Williams, Thaiu Jones-Bell, Ja’Corey Brooks, Christian Leary, JoJo Earle*
Metchie and Bolden both are expected to be part of Bill O’Brien’s offense; the question is which less experienced receivers rise up alongside them. Baker and Holden played with the first team offense Saturday, but it was Hall who stole the show with the second team.
Tight ends: Jahleel Billingsley, Cameron Latu, Major Tennison, Robbie Ouzts, Caden Clark
Latu’s strong spring should get him on the field in two tight end groupings, like the one that began the game Saturday for O’Brien’s white team.
Offensive tackles: Evan Neal, Kendall Randolph, Damieon George (also guard), Tommy Brockermeyer, J.C. Latham
Neal moves to left tackle this season, his third position in three seasons, opening the right tackle spot. Randolph got the start Saturday, while George also got snaps there. The two five-star freshmen, Brockermeyer and Latham, could also make a push this summer.
Offensive guards: Emil Ekiyor, Javion Cohen, Damieon George (also tackle), Tommy Brown, Pierce Quick, Amari Kight, Tanner Bowles, Terrence Ferguson, Jaeden Roberts*
Ekiyor missed the spring because of injury, with Cohen and George starting Saturday’s game. Brown and Bowles rotated into the guard mix, and Quick -- also out this spring -- could factor into the competition this summer. Kight and Ferguson played with the second-team Saturday. The guard spot opposite Ekiyor will be one to watch in August.
Centers: Chris Owens, Darrian Dalcourt, Seth McLaughlin, James Brockermeyer
Owens returns for a sixth season and provides some experience in the middle of the offensive line.
Defensive linemen: DJ Dale, LaBryan Ray, Phil Mathis, Justin Eboigbe, Byron Young, Tim Smith, Jah-Marien Latham, Jamil Burroughs, Monkell Goodwine, Stephon Wynn, Braylen Ingraham, Damon Payne*, Tim Keenan*, Anquin Barnes*
Dale figures to start for a third season at nose guard, with Ray, Mathis, Eboigbe and Young all having seen considerable playing time last season at end. Smith is the name to watch from the younger group, with coaches telling ESPN’s broadcast that he has the best chance to replace Christian Barmore as an interior pass rusher.
Outside linebackers: Christopher Allen, Will Anderson, Drew Sanders, Chris Braswell, King Mwikuta, Quandarrius Robinson, Keanu Koht, Dallas Turner*
Allen and Anderson form a fearsome starting duo, with Braswell showing up in Saturday’s game with three sacks. Sanders, who was not available to play Saturday, saw playing time last year as a freshman.
Inside linebackers: Christian Harris, Jaylen Moody, Shane Lee, Deontae Lawson, Demouy Kennedy, Jackson Bratton, Ian Jackson, Kendrick Blackshire*
Moody is the favorite to replace Dylan Moses, with Lee -- who was not available to play Saturday -- back healthy this season. Lawson, a freshman, got the start Saturday with the first-team defense but is joined by other young players in vying for a role this summer.
Cornerbacks: Josh Jobe, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Ga’Quincy McKinstry, Marcus Banks, Ronald Williams, Brandon Turnage, Jahquez Robinson, Devonta Smith*, Khyree Jackson*
Armour-Davis earned the start Saturday with the first-team but McKinstry’s five-star talent is likely to get him on the field sooner rather than later. Williams, a JUCO transfer last year who missed time with a broken arm, started alongside McKinstry on the second-team with Banks out.
Star/Money: Malachi Moore, Brian Branch
Moore was sidelined this spring because of injury, but him and Branch should both see the field again this season as core pieces in the secondary.
Safeties: Jordan Battle, DeMarcco Hellams, Daniel Wright, Kristian Story, Terrion Arnold*, Kadarius Calloway*, Kaine Williams*
Hellams took over for Wright late last season and seems to be the favorite to start alongside Battle. Alabama will get a flood of talent at this position this summer, with Arnold arriving as a top 50 prospect.
*freshman expected to join the team this summer