The undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide are primed to defend their national championship. Expected to beat Florida in the upcoming SEC title game, Bama is the prohibitive favorite in the field of this year's playoff contenders.
Head coach Nick Saban is brilliant, having attained a level of success that is reserved for a mere few of the all time great tacticians and motivators. He also excels in attracting the best talent to Tuscaloosa, preparing them impeccably, and unleashing them in a way that's a marvel to witness.
When you combine Saban's excellence with the unbelievable talent on his roster, you have a devastating combination.
Bama is the country's most dominant squad, and that dominance will continue in their monopoly on the first round of this year's NFL Draft. With possibly three games left in the season, here's your chance to become better acclimated with this team's players that have a chance to be impact pros.
Tim Williams, Outside Linebacker: Williams looks unblockable at times and many draft experts see him as an effective edge rusher that will harass quarterbacks in the NFL. In Alabama's 12 games this year, he has eight sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hurries. Pro scouts are enamored with his athleticism and explosiveness. The jury is still out about how he'll look against the run and dropping back in coverage in the pros. But one thing is certain, if he's let loose as a designated rusher, he'll be a sackmaster supreme.
OJ Howard, Tight End: the 6-foot-6, 250-pounder's stats won't wow you, but watching his five catches for an Alabama bowl record 208 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson's outstanding linebackers and secondary in last year's national championship sure will. Some think he has Jimmy Graham-type potential as a guy who can line up next to a tackle along with being put out in the slot. His balance, speed and athleticism is rare for a man of his considerable size. He's a serious mismatch against DB's and linebackers alike.
Reuben Foster, Linebacker: Regarded by many as the best and most complete linebacker in the country, Foster's instincts simply can't be taught. He's one of the main reasons why this defense has been historically great over the last few years. He's exceptional in stopping the run, with split-second reactions off the snap that few can match. Combine those instincts with speed, strength, short-burst quickness and his skills as a sure tackler, along with his ability in coverage and as a pass rusher and you have the makings of a player that will be a Top-Five NFL draft pick.
Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman: If you pay attention to Alabama's defensive line, you'll notice that Allen lines up on the edge and in the interior. Within the subtleties of combat in the trenches, his hand skills are phenomenal. Allen has been the most dominant defender in all of college football this year, and a likely choice as the overall #1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The pro scouts are comparing him to the likes of Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy.
He has the strength to overwhelm at the line of scrimmage and the quickness and tenacity to chase QB's and running backs across the other side of the field. At the next level, he can be utilized in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Whatever system he plays in, he'll bring constant pressure and will excel in the running game and in pressuring the quarterback.