Alabama Football: Unpopular Opinion on Crimson Tide Wideouts

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

The wide receivers for Alabama Football have been the subject of much scrutiny this year, and for good reason. The group has failed to generate consistent production all season. The fact that Alabama has produced five first-round draft picks at wideout in the past three years makes the deficiencies of this receiving corps all the more glaring.

While the group has received relentless criticism, it is possible that they are just one year away from the breakout season they were expected to have this year. Alabama has no seniors at the position, and no draft-eligible players that would be chosen high enough to warrant leaving early. With the exception of some inevitable transfers, the wide receiver room should be back in its entirety in 2023.

Alabama Football: No absence of quality pieces

Despite not living up to the lofty expectations placed upon them, this collective has some solid complementary pieces.

Sophomore Ja’Corey Brooks has stepped up his play in recent weeks after a sluggish start to the season. He leads all Alabama wide receivers with 32 receptions for 534 yards and six touchdowns.

Juniors Traeshon Holden and Jermaine Burton have battled consistency issues, but have each looked good in moments. Freshman slot receiver Kobe Prentice has been quiet recently, but was leading Alabama wideouts in catches for most of the season. Sophomore Jojo Earle, also a slot guy, is becoming increasingly involved in the offense. Earle missed the first month of the season with a foot injury, but has since returned and caught a pair of touchdown passes.

This core group could remain intact in 2023, and will undoubtedly improve. All five of these receivers should compete hard all offseason and enter next year with confidence. Still, the receiving corps is missing one key element: a reliable vertical threat.

Alabama Football: Who can take the top off?

If Alabama is able to establish a deep threat, I believe it will open up the offense and take the rest of the group’s game to a different level. In my opinion, there are two likely candidates to assume this role.

Freshman speedster Isaiah Bond has looked like the most explosive member of the Crimson Tide receiver group at times this year. He only has nine receptions for the season, but averages a team-high 17.7 yards per catch and has won vertically as much as anybody. He could be a breakout player next year in that role.

Incoming JUCO transfer Malik Benson could also make a huge impact. Benson has elite big-play ability, as evidenced by his absurd 28.6 yards per catch in 2021. He followed that up by averaging 17.2 yards per catch to lead his team in 2022.

Time to rest Bryce Young?. dark. Next

Bond, Benson, or potentially another member of the Alabama wide receiver room could step up and be the deep threat next season. While Bama’s wideouts have had well-documented struggles this season, I think they are just one year (and one piece) away.