Alabama Football: What will the defensive line look like in 2024

Ole Miss v Alabama
Ole Miss v Alabama / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The defensive line room in 2024 for the Alabama Football team will be the biggest question for the Alabama Football program. The team will lose its top two edge rushers with Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell declaring for the NFL Draft. The duo combined for 18 sacks and 95 tackles in 2023 forming one of the nation's best pass-rush duos. The team is also losing Justin Eboigbe and his seven sacks and awaiting news on whether Tim Smith will return for another season as both had career years this season for the Alabama Football team. Reports have indicated that Smith will return but, nothing is official yet.

The issue for the Alabama Football team will be replacing 25 sacks between Turner, Braswell, and Eboigbe. The trio recorded 25 of the team's 39 sacks, behind the trio Deontae Lawson is next up with just three sacks. The Alabama Football team doesn't return many edge rushers with experience either with none of the backups recording a sack this season.

The process of replacing the production the team will lose starts with Texas A&M transfer LT Overton. Overton only has one sack through his two seasons at Texas A&M however, he's become an excellent run defender. Dallas Turner was asked about Overton in preparation for the Rose Bowl and Turner said the following about Overton:

"Very physical. A big body as well. I feel like he could play to the standard we play to the standard we play here at the University of Alabama."

Dallas Turner

Overton will need to produce sacks for the 2024 Alabama Football team to have as effective of a defense as it had in 2023, especially after losing Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid Mckinstry to the NFL Draft.

The next names to watch are the returnees who will fight for increased reps during spring and summer camp. Those names are led by younger players Keon Keeley, Keanu Koht, Yhonzae Pierre, Qua Russaw, and Jeremiah Alexander all of whom were highly touted recruits. None of these players have recorded significant playing time which is a concern heading into 2024 and a reason why the Alabama Football team may pursue transfers in the spring portal window. True freshmen Jayshawn Ross and Sterling Dixon will compete as well with both four-stars possessing significant talent.

The transfer portal will likely be a huge piece in building the edge room for 2024. We've already seen Nick Saban use it to land LT Overton and he'll certainly use it again to add experience to the room. Some potential targets may include Korey Foreman, Caiden Woullard, and Jamaree Caldwell. Korey Foreman was the third-ranked prospect in the 2021 recruiting class.

Foreman is transferring out of USC in part because he hasn't played up to his potential recording only 2.5 sacks in his three seasons for the Trojans. Alabama Football was in the running in the initial recruitment and with a need at edge they may look to add Foreman to see if he can live up to his potential. The Crimson Tide already landed a player from USC in Cornerback Domani Jackson last week.

The other two targets are the top-ranked remaining interior defensive linemen and edge rushers Caiden Woullard and Jamaree Caldwell. Woullard is transferring out of Miami-Ohio where he recorded 9.5 sacks this season which would bring much-needed experience to a group lacking experience. Caldwell is transferring out of Houston where he recorded 6.5 sacks and has a skill set inside that would be crucial in replacing Justin Eboigbe if he departs.

Alabama Football: 2024 Offense is deep but, questions linger on defense

The 2024 Alabama Football team may be one of the first groups in Nick Saban's tenure where he feels better about his group offensively than defensively. The team currently needs to replace its starting cornerback duo and starting edge rush duo two of the most important positions on the defense. The transfer portal makes this process easier especially with the spring transfer window as he can evaluate his players before then and see what he has. The team could certainly use some younger players catching on like Caleb Downs did this season to eliminate this becoming a yearly issue.

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