SEC Network analyst Marcus Spears has questions about Alabama’s front seven turnover heading into the 2017 season.
Spears said Friday on “The Paul Finebaum Show” that he had some uncertainty about how the Crimson Tide would replace several key players on that part of the defense.
“ … I’m not talking about players being good, I’m talking about the amount of production that they lost,” Spears said. “It’s a difference in having players upfront that can play and do good. It’s a difference when you have game changers, though. And they lost three.”
Spears noted outside linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson, as well as defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, as the three “game changers.” All three were taken in the first three rounds of April’s NFL draft.
Spears specifically noted the last sack production that’s gone with their departures. Combined the three had 28.5 sacks (10.5 for Allen, nine each for Anderson and Williams) of Alabama’s nation-leading 54 sacks.
“ … you gotta say to yourself, ‘Where do you account for that?’” Spears said.
Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson also was selected in the NFL draft, in the second round. Inside linebacker Reuben Foster was a first-round pick. Between those two, the Crimson Tide had eight more sacks.
Spears, though, was confident that junior defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne and senior defensive end Da’Shawn Hand should help compensate for the losses. He also noted defensive end Isaiah Buggs, who was the No. 2 overall junior college prospect when he enrolled at Alabama in January, as another possible key figure.
Redshirt sophomore Anfernee Jennings and redshirt junior Christian Miller are expected to replace Anderson and Williams at the two outside linebacker positions.
(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)
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