Alabama Football: Tide have 2 best wide receivers in the SEC

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football is once again loaded at wide receiver.

The Alabama Crimson Tide have been blessed with elite wide receivers in the past, but 2019 was an abundance of riches. Alabama football had four receivers that will eventually be drafted in the first round. They were so deep that Jaylen Waddle was on the sideline simply because of the talent ahead of him. Despite seeing Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy head to the NFL, Alabama still has the two best receivers in the SEC.

Let’s start with the senior. DeVonta Smith has it all as a receiver. He’s not as fast as Ruggs or as polished as Jeudy, but his strength at the catch point is underrated. Smith might have a small frame, but he can compete with strong corners and win. He can contort his body and catch inaccurate passes. Outside of this, he is also smooth as a route-runner and has at least 4.4 speed.

Without Ruggs and Jeudy, Smith will see a large increase in targets. He will be the first target on most routes, and he can turn a simple slant into a 60-yard touchdown.

Smith is also as clutch as they come. He caught two game-winning touchdowns as a freshman, including the iconic 2nd and 26. Against LSU in 2019, he caught the last touchdown for Alabama to keep it close.

Jaylen Waddle will also see a surge in his statistics. His agility makes him hard to bring down. Steve Sarkisian will scheme plays specifically to give Waddle the ball with space. Whether it’s a screen or something underneath, watch out for Waddle to become a great RAC receiver. His speed deserves more discussion as well. He can keep up stride for stride with Henry Ruggs, so he will certainly see similar routes to what Ruggs got in 2019.

All of this goes to show that Alabama has two elite wide receivers. However, do they truly have the two best receivers in the SEC? I would have said no a few weeks ago, but Ja’Marr Chase opting out certainly changes things. Chase was a record-breaking receiver for LSU last year. Without him, there are slim pickings. I think the only receiver who can compete with Smith and Waddle is George Pickens out of UGA. Pickens has elite traits, but his leadership concerns kept him off the field in 2019. If he can avoid getting into fights, hopes are high in Athens.

Another receiver to consider is Seth Williams for Auburn. He will help Bo Nix develop as the season progresses. However, he has shown nothing that puts him in the same tier as the aforementioned receivers.

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Alabama football certainly has the best receiving duo in the country. After a dive into other receivers in the conference, I believe that they are individually the two best receivers in the entire SEC. With other conferences not playing, they might be the two best in the country. Watch out, secondaries.