Alabama Football: Official Depth Chart surprises and questions

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Almost as anticipated as an Alabama football game is the first official depth chart of each new season. And every season the new chart provides more clarity than questions. But it does not provide as many answers as Alabama fans seek.

Based on an annual clarification by Nick Saban, the season’s first depth chart is fluid and more a practice rep chart than a fixed ranking of the Crimson Tide’s first unit and second-unit players. Even if it were fixed, its shelf life is only until the next practice. Players have to compete for their roles throughout the season.

The first ‘official’ depth chart for 2022 was expected to include ‘ands’ and ‘ors’ to designate the most undecided roles. Instead, a slash mark (/) was used initially used to indicate positions for which starter decisions are yet to be made.

Alabama Football Depth Chart Surprises

  • At defensive end, Tim Smith got a first-team nod over Justin Eboigbe. The other starter at defensive end is Byron Young.
  • At nose guard, D.J. Dale and Jaheim Oatis were both listed in the first unit.
  • Not a surprise was Kendall Randolph at left tackle, but recently Tyler Booker had worked at the position. The surprise is Javion Cohen was listed as the No. 2 behind Randolph, indicating Cohen may not be far behind Randolph.
  •  A small surprise at wide receiver was Kobe Prentice as the starter at slot receiver. The impact is Ja’Corey Brooks or Tyler Harrell, in terms of being starters will need to be involved in four-wide sets.
  • There was another small surprise with former running back, Emmanuel Henderson listed as co-No. 2 slot receiver with Christian Leary.

Alabama Football Depth Chart Questions

  • Given the weak early schedule (which Nick Saban would never admit to) will Javion Cohen get snaps with the first unit offensive line? If he does, it might indicate the separation between him and Kendall Randolph is minimal.
  • Who will be wideout number four in the first four-wide set? Will it be Ja’Corey Brooks or Tyler Harrell?
  • The most obvious question remaining is what pair of cornerbacks win starting roles against Utah State. While Kool-Aid McKinstry is expected to start over Eli Ricks, the other corner spot remains a toss-up between Terrion Arnold and Khyree Jackson.
  • In the dime, will Malachi Moore be the sixth defensive back? Or will Brian Branch take the Money spot, with one of the non-starting corners at Star?

Next. Bold Predictions for the '22 Season. dark

Nick Saban elaborated about competition, reminding every Alabama football player is not just battling teammates for snaps, but also competing with his best self.