The NFL draft is done, spring practice is over and summer workouts soon will begin. You may not know it, but those three things are interconnected.
That’s because each of the 14 SEC coaches still is especially worried about one spot left vacant by a departed player, a spot that — even after spring practice — remains a gigantic question mark.
Here’s a look at the player each SEC school will find hardest to replace and who will be given the opportunity to try to fill his shoes.
Alabama: TE O.J. Howard
The buzz: Alabama will have numerous new starters in 2017; that’s what happens when you have 10 players drafted. Most of those lost will be replaced by a player with many of the same physical skills, just not as much experience. But that can’t be said about tight end. Howard, who was a first-round pick, will be the hardest player to replace for the Crimson Tide. Miller Forristall will be a primary target in the passing game and Hale Hentges will be the blocking tight end. Redshirt freshman Irv Smith, Jr., son of former first-round TE selection Irv Smith, may be the closest thing to Howard on the roster, and it would not be a surprise to see him eventually rise to the top of the depth chart during the season.
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