Alabama Football: Predicting the 2016 Starting Offensive Line

Apr 18, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive line during the A-day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive line during the A-day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Spring practice for Alabama football is all wrapped up and things are quiet for a few months. Now, the fans get to talk starters and depth charts, oh my.

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It’s a running joke from Alabama fans and I suppose the media as well. Never ask Coach Nick Saban for a depth chart. Fire will come from his eyes and the thunder will roll from his voice telling you the reason you won’t see one. Okay, that won’t happen but don’t ask.

That doesn’t stop us from discussing which ones will think will get the nod at certain positions.

Here is the way I see the 2016 offensive line.

Left Tackle- Cam Robinson

Maybe this is not a bold prediction for left tackle, but this is a big year for Robinson. After this season, he will be eligible for the NFL Draft. If everything goes as planned, that is exactly where he will be. In 2015, Robinson was an unanimous vote (Associated Press, conference coaches) for the All-SEC team. With 2016 being considered a “money year”, I expect the same type of results barring any serious injury.

Left Guard- Lester Cotton

“Lester Cotton has had a really good spring, and if I had to say is he one the top five linemen based on what he has done in the spring, I would say probably, yes,” Coach Nick Saban said.

I have a good amount of confidence Cotton ends up at left guard with Brandon Kennedy and Alphonse Taylor battling it out at right guard. Jonah Williams has done nothing but impress the coaches since he arrived on campus this semester. We could see a very young offensive line this season and it only makes sense for Lester to work beside Cam Robinson. Cotton has been working at both tackle positions a lot, but with so much talent at tackle someone has to move inside.

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Center- Ross Pierschbacher

At first, it was very surprising to me that Pierschbacher made the move to center this off-season, but listening to a few of Saban’s comments this spring, the experiment must have went very well. Ross started all 15 games last season at right guard. With Ryan Kelly’s departure, Saban and Pierschbacher had a conversation about moving to center in post-season individual meetings. Being the team player that he is, Ross let Coach Saban know that he would do whatever is best for the team. As of now, it looks like him at center is best for the team.

Right Guard- Alphonse Taylor

I was very impressed with Brandon Kennedy in the scrimmage I was able to attend, but I think experience will win this battle in the end. I still cringe when I rewatch the National Championship Game against Clemson because the right side (Taylor and Jackson) seemed to have let many more Tigers in the backfield than most would like. Alphonse has struggled a bit this spring, but I think that’s going to change when it comes to fall camp. Saban has been know to give the nod to the player with the most experience.

Right Tackle – Jonah Williams

Jonah has been practicing/scrimmaging with the first team at the left tackle position while Cam Robinson is sitting out this spring. Watching the first spring scrimmage, I was overly impressed with Jonah. He looks like a season veteran out there going against some really good defensive lineman. Korren Kirven has also showed a ton of improvement, but I think Williams gets the nod come game one when Alabama takes on USC in Dallas.

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With all of that being said it is safe to say Alabama will be in good shape come 2016.