The All-Saban NFL Squad

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Has Marcell solidified himself as the top Alabama NFL product under Saban?
Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
DL – Marcell Dareus (Buffalo Bills): Dareus has been an absolute stud so far for the Bills.  He was a first team All-Pro in 2014 and has been a pro bowler the past 2 seasons. He’ll have to sit out the first game of 2015, but after that look for him to continue wreaking havoc on NFL offenses.
DL – Wallace Gilberry (Kansas City Chiefs/Cincinnati Bengals): Believe it or not Gilberry was actually undrafted coming out of Alabama in 2008; after playing 1 year under coach Saban. He started his career with the Chiefs and has since moved on to the Bengals where he started all 16 games last year.
DL – Josh Chapman (Indianapolis Colts): Chapman has spent the past two seasons on the Colts defensive line. He’s played in 29 games and started 15 of those. All 15 of Chapman’s starts came last year and he looks to be a big part of the Colts defense in 2015 as they hope to make a Super Bowl run.
LB – C.J Mosley (Baltimore Ravens): Mosley was picked by the Ravens with the 17th pick in the 2014 draft and I can assure you they’re quite happy with the pick. Mosley started all 16 games as a rookie for the Ravens and even made the Pro Bowl. Look for Mosley to continue his success in 2015 and insert his name into elite linebacker conversations.
LB – Dont’a Hightower (New England Patriots): Super Bowl Champion Dont’a Hightower; has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? Hightower was an important part of a Patriots defense that beat the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl in 2014. We partly have Dont’a to thank for the summer of Gronk, which I greatly appreciate. Hightower is coming off an off-season shoulder surgery and hopes to be back for week one in 2015.
LB – Rolando McClain (Oakland Raiders/Dallas Cowboys): McClain was an anchor on a Cowboys defense that surprised a lot of people in 2014. Rolo started 13 games last season after retiring in 2013. He’ll miss the first 4 games of 2015 due to a suspension but he should return to a starting role upon completing his suspension.
LB – Courtney Upshaw (Baltimore Ravens): Upshaw marks the second Ravens linebacker to check in on our team. After an up and down year one; Upshaw has solidified a starting spot with the Ravens, and looks to build on that in 2015.
CB Kareem Jackson (Houston Texans): Jackson is coming off another solid season with the Texans where he had 3 interceptions and started 13 games. He’s probably been the most successful corner in the league under Saban and will try to continue that trend going forward.
Can Dre Kirk continue his end of year success in 2015?
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Cincinnati Bengals): Dre Kirk finally started to blossom as an NFL corner at the end of last season; including two interceptions against future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. He also started in their 2014 playoff game and he’ll be a big part of the Bengals D as they look to make a 5th straight playoff appearance.
FS – Rashad Johnson (Arizona Cardinals): From walk-on to NFL starter; talk about a great story. Johnson started all 16 games for the first time in his six-year NFL career in 2014; not bad for a guy who lost part of a finger mid-game the year before.
SS – Mark Barron (Tampa Bay Buccaneers/St. Louis Rams): Barron is the guy who has probably surprised me the most since leaving The Capstone. He’s been a fine player thus far in his career but I really expected him to be on a Hall of Fame path by now. Barron was traded mid-season last year to the Rams where he only started 2 of 9 games. He’ll look to get back in the starting rotation in 2015 and hopefully start to look more like he did while rocking the Crimson and White.
Obviously the offense is the weaker of the two squads, but I still think this unit is capable of putting up points. We’d probably be a little more run heavy, but with Julio all things are possible. Looking ahead, this squad will probably have a newcomer or two in 2016 and hopefully McCarron can get some reps to solidify the QB spot a little more.
On to the defense, which is pretty damn horrifying if you ask me. I may be looking at this through my crimson colored Costas but that looks like a top 2-3 NFL defense to me. You’re not going to run on that group; like ever. You may get some yards through the air but I don’t know that it’d be enough to run up the score on this squad. Again, I’d look for a newcomer or two on this side of the ball as well. Possibly Landon Collins and maybe Dee Milliner to help sure up that secondary.
In review, the All Alabama Saban Coached Team checks out to be a pretty solid squad. Obviously we’re not factoring in depth, but considering starters only this looks like a borderline playoff team to me. Not too bad for a team coached by 1 guy at 1 university over 8 years.
Roll Tide my friends, we’re only 43 days away!

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