Could an all-Alabama NFL team win the Super Bowl?
We’ve all heard the ridiculous question of whether a college program such as Alabama could beat an NFL franchise. Even with an atrocious team such as the 0-16 Cleveland Browns, it’s absurd to think any college team could compete with an NFL team.
But what if we built an NFL team full of Alabama players? That would seem to make a lot more sense.
This Tide dream team includes players who are in the NFL along with some guys who are projected to be on an NFL roster following the 2018 draft.
Now, final NFL rosters consist of 53 players. As a result, we were forced to make “cuts” to get a more accurate representation of what a competitive, all-Alabama roster would look like.
Some of the key players left off the roster were defensive linemen Ed Stinson and Damion Square, cornerback Anthony Averett, linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton and running back Bo Scarbrough.
In order to get more of a consensus on where a guy is expected to go, we decided to look at multiple rankings.
The first was Daniel Jeremiah’s (NFL.com) top 50 players. Then, we turned to Luke Easterling’s (Draft Wire) top 50 rankings. Finally, we rounded it out with CBS Sports’ rankings on guys such as Levi Wallace, Bradley Bozeman and Da’Shawn Hand — who weren’t among the top 50 players according to Jeremiah and Easterling.
So, what did we find out?
Before we get started, let’s take a look at what an all-Alabama roster would look like in the NFL.
So, there’s a lot to learn about this roster when you break it down.
An all-Alabama team would include 42 players drafted in the first three rounds of their respective draft. To put that into perspective, the New England Patriots — who are the heavy favorite to win the Super Bowl — only have 24 (nine picks on Day 1 and 15 more on Day 2).
Why they would win the Super Bowl
A majority of this team’s positional units could not only compete in the NFL … they could dominate.
The skill positions on offense are highlighted by a combination of an incredibly deep group at running back and four former first-round picks — Jones, Cooper (below), Ridley and Howard — as options in the passing game. Nick Saban never had that much talent when he coached the Miami Dolphins.
The combination of youth and seasoned veterans provides the perfect mixture to be effective.
Take the running backs for example. Ingram is 28, but he’s also coming off his best statistical season of his seven-year career. His 1,124 rushing yards, 416 receiving yards and 12 rushing touchdowns were all career-highs. Mix in emerging talents such as Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake, and this group is dangerous.
There isn’t a NFL team that could match the receiver group, either.
On defense, the Tide is strong top to bottom. Whether it’s impact starters or quality depth players, Alabama would have the rotation necessary to be extremely competitive in the NFL.
The size at defensive back particularly stands out. Here’s a look at the starters and their production this season.
- Marlon Humphrey (6-0, 197): 34 tackles, 11 pass deflections, 2 INTs
- Dre Kirkpatrick (6-2, 185): 55 tackles, 14 PDs, 1 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF
- Minkah Fitzpatrick (6-1, 202): 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 7 PDs, 1 INT (Alabama)
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6-1, 208): 79 tackles, 6 PDs, 3 INTs
- Landon Collins (6-0, 218): 104 tackles, 6 PDs, 2 INTs, 1 FF
That’s an average of 6-1, 202 pounds — with no player under 6-0.
The entire defense is littered with talent, though. Of the starters, five — Dareus, Hightower, Mosley, Clinton-Dix and Collins — have a combined nine Pro Bowl appearances. Dareus and Collins have been named to the All-Pro team as well.
Why they wouldn’t win the Super Bowl
Alabama is stacked at most positions. But they lack quality — and quantity — at two crucial spots: quarterback and kicker.
We still don’t know how good McCarron can be in the NFL. In his four-year career, he’s only attempted 133 passes in the regular season — 119 of which came in 2015. Granted, he’s completed 64.7 percent of those for 920 yards and six touchdowns — with only two interceptions — but he’s still an unknown.
There isn’t any depth behind him, either. If McCarron got hurt, Alabama would probably be forced to play ArDarius Stewart at quarterback — who hasn’t played the position since high school. That’s not a situation you want in the NFL.
On top of that, the roster wouldn’t even include a true kicker. J.K. Scott did have limited attempts, but he isn’t even close to the same caliber kicker as he is a punter.
They would also have a guy by the name of Jarran Reed on the roster, who showed that he is capable of winning a field goal competition during his rookie season.
Check it out:
There are people who would argue that Alabama has won five national championships in the past nine years without one, but that’s college football. The NFL is a different game.
The other major issue is the offensive line. While the group would potentially include five former first-round picks and at least two more second-round picks, the pass protection would be lacking.
This would need to be a team that was completely built around the run game, which would be fine until they fell behind. Then, they would be left with an inexperienced quarterback who doesn’t have an offensive line that can protect him — and without a backup in place.
If not for the lack of a true kicker, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe an all-Alabama team could be a serious playoff contender in the NFL.
The defense — while having to rely on an interior defensive lineman (Allen) as its best pure pass rusher — would be the most talented in the NFL by far.
On the other side of the football, the Tide would have enough talent to complement a dominant defense as long as McCarron could stay healthy.
With that said, this team would only have a small chance of winning a Super Bowl with the deficiencies.
They would dominant in certain facets, but any playoff appearance would be a surprise.