Alabama Crimson Tide Keeping QB, Losing Key Parts at Many Other Spots

By Thomas Emerick
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama rides back-to-back national championships and returns its quarterback from each title run in A.J. McCarron. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, the two men protecting him in the picture above, guard Chance Warmack and center Barrett Jones, are both headed for the top selection in the 2013 NFL draft at their respective positions.

Warmack and Jones are just two among many players Nick Saban‘s program has turned intoNCAA champions and prized pro prospects. The plus side is that this will lure yet more top-notch talent down to Tuscaloosa, Ala., but of course the other side is it leaves many huge shoes to fill.

Eddie Lacy will no longer be stomping through the trenches for ‘Bama — viewed as perhaps the only running back with a decent chance of cracking the first round — but it’s safe to assume they’re in good hands with 1,000-yard rusher T.J. Yeldon. They will need to replace the bruising run blocking of tight end Michael Williams and right tackle D.J. Fluker, a top offensive line prospect.

Cornerback Dee Milliner is widely viewed as the best cornerback option in the class and is a virtual lock for round one. Defensive end Jesse Williams and linebacker Nico Johnson figure to land on NFL teams for next season as well. Alabama must also replace safety Robert Lester, who’s nose for the ball led to eight interceptions in 2010 and another four in 2012.

Time will tell if this Crimson Tide draft class outshines the rest of an unsurprisingly stacked group of SEC prospects coming out in 2013.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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