Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bama fans have reason to dream about the 2020 team's roster

Another year older, another year of experience and another year better. Based on mock draft reports and some intrepid reporting from Sports Illustrated's Chris Walsh, it looks like the 2020 Crimson Tide football team could come back loaded with talent, experience and a hunger maybe not seen since the 2009 season.

First, the mock drafts. CBS has seven Tide players going in the first round, as does USAToday. Fox Sports also has seven Alabama players going on Day One. Not all of these guys are Juniors with a year of eligibility remaining. Raekwon Davis, Anfernee Jennings and Trevon Smith are all done at Alabama. But there are Juniors who are still on the fence about jumping early.

We've already talked about Tua Tagovailoa's prospects, but what about others with a season of eligibility left? That's where SI's Chris Walsh pencils in some of the blanks.
There are a LOT of names not mentioned yet who seem at this point to be leaning toward staying. Among those I’m hearing are least 75 per cent certain to remain on the Crimson Tide roster are quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III, offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood and linebacker Dylan Moses.

That last paragraph may seem like a too good to be true fantasy – and perhaps it is in part – but Nick Saban is emphasizing to his underclassmen, as evidenced by recent remarks by Tagovailoa, how important it is to not just be a first-round pick but to be in the top 15 players chosen when the NFL Draft takes place April 23, 2020 in Paradise, Nevada. ...

The situation remains fluid, and a lot could change, but there is strong evidence that much of it may not and that Alabama’s 2020 team may be much deeper and experienced than initially thought.
A lot of what could change depends on how the remainder of the NFL season and playoffs pan out. Coaching changes in the league don't start until Black Monday, which is December 30 this year. Some more of what could change will play out during the college football bowls and playoffs. Both college seniors and underclassmen could see their draft prospects change according to who's expected to bolt after this season and who else in the country is expected to come back in 2020. 'There are lots of moving parts' is not wrong.

One thing we can count on is that Alabama players considering the move are getting sound advice. Counsel is coming from real grownups with no reason not to shove a Junior in the right direction.
“A lot of guys, man, they got it in their mind that they’re gonna go out for the draft no matter what, and I think you all know my philosophy on that: If you’re a first-round draft pick, you should go. If you’re not, you should stay in school and try to graduate. I think it’s getting tougher and tougher, and more and more guys are making the decision to go out early.

“And at least 50 percent of those cases, it’s not a good decision, and a lot of those guys don’t make a team. What people don’t understand, and everybody should know, is professional football is the only sports league, professional sports league, that doesn’t have a minor-league system. Baseball has a minor-league system. Aaron Judge, he’s a pretty good baseball player, right? He spent a couple years in the minor leagues developing. Well, you don’t do that in football. The only development you can do is in college. So where you enter the league is of utmost importance.

“And I just think that gets overlooked by a lot of players, because it’s all or nothing, and if they don’t make the team, there’s no place else for them to play, and they can’t go back to college and play. I think the road we’re going down right now is not always best for the players that are making decisions to go out early.”
And Coach Saban is not shy about how their decisions affect them as well as how their mindset affects his program.
“I’m sure that guys are going to make individual decisions based on their circumstance and their situation, and what we want to focus on is the guys who want to look to the future and look to trying to improve themselves as players and improve our team in getting back to the standard that we want to play to. This has been something that has been a bit of an issue in the past with other programs and other teams. We haven’t experienced it for a while, but we’ll see what happens with this group. We will have those conversations, and we’ll let you know if any of those decisions are imminent to the players that we have on our team.”


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