Alabama Football: Crimson Tide All-Decade Team

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Alabama football
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: Quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers is tackled by defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

Defensive End (Jonathan Allen & Marcell Dareus)

For the front seven, I’m going to work out of Saban’s base 3-4 defense. This will change a bit a once I get to the defensive backs.

The most important part for a 3-4 defensive end in Nick Saban’s system is to basically be able to play as a defensive tackle when they operated out of nickel or dime packages. The two players, here, could more than handle the load. Jonathan Allen had one of the best seasons a FBS defensive lineman has had in awhile in 2016. That year, he amassed 69 tackles, 16 TFLs and 10.5 sacks on his way to unanimous All-American selection, Nagurski, Bednarik & Lombardi trophies and SEC Defensive POY honors. He ended his Tide career with 28 sacks. As a de facto tackle.

Dareus, while only a starter for one season, was so good that in 2009, at 325 pounds, he was used as a third-down interior pass rusher. Remember his interception return for a touchdown in the title game against Texas? Dude stiff-armed the QB and spun around an offensive lineman on his way to the endzone. In two years (one as a situational player), he finished with 20 TFLs and 11 sacks. He was a monster.

Honorable Mention: A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed

Alabama football
BATON ROUGE, LA – NOVEMBER 03: Quinnen Williams #92 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a second half sack. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Nose Guard (Quinnen Williams)

He’s like a 300-pound bar of soap.” -Jonah Williams

Truer words have never been spoken, Jonah, as Quinnen Williams, in one season, vaulted his way from rotational defensive end to All-American tackle. It was like a meteor and Jonathan Allen was the one who forecasted it. When Allen was asked by a reporter in early 2017 who the next great Bama defensive lineman was going to be, Allen didn’t hesitate: Quinnen Williams.

Funnily enough, Williams came into Tuscaloosa as a true freshman weighing 265 pounds, the perfect weight for a strongside defensive end. Between Williams’ second and third seasons, though, Saban (in his infinite wisdom) saw how effective Williams could be as a zero-technique guard. If he put on a few extra pounds, Williams would be strong enough to demand double teams, but still have the agility and athleticism of a defensive end. Boy, was he right.

In 2018, from the nose position, Williams amassed 71 total tackles, 19.5 TFLs and eight sacks on his way to an Outland Trophy and unanimous All-American selection.

Honorable Mention: Da’Ron Payne