Although the safety position has seen its importance decline somewhat in the NFL (both in the draft and under contract), it has been a staple of Alabama’s defense for years, where many of the top NFL talents of the season come from. from Tuscaloosa.
On top of that, Pete Goulding and Saban have been working to convert the slot corner, or star, to a safety-like position instead of a cornerback. And this positional metamorphosis has a good shot at taking back some of the ground gained by college offenses over the past decade.
Either way, Alabama is fully loaded at all three positions in 2022, as all starters enter their 3rd year, with one key depth and has been an on-and-off starter the past two seasons. .
Daniel Wright – A longtime special teams darling for the Tide, Wright finally got his chance to start at safety in 2020. His speed and strong hitting gave him a very good display, but a number of back-breaking errors saw him through in the end. Leaving the original job. Wright He came back as a 5th year senior in 2021 and filled his role as a dime defender who provided some energy on the field. Kane Williams – Williams, a big, hard-hitting type, was a true freshman in 2021 and didn’t see any playing time in his first year. He hit the transfer portal for some reason and is now at Nebraska.
Jordan Battle – The team’s senior and 2021 All-American, Battle is entering his third year as a full-time starter and his fourth as a regular contributor in the defensive backfield. Combat leadership, intelligence, work ethic, energy, and intelligence are all central components of this defense. He’s a big player with the range and versatility to play in any package, and is one of the most consistent tacklers on the team.
It is, after all, a real security blanket for protection. When a play goes wrong, the battle is often the team’s last shot to prevent a big play.
Battle could have easily been a 2nd round NFL draft pick, but chose to come back for his senior season with the sole purpose of winning a national championship. So you can bet the old man is playing on the warpath.
DeMarco Hellams – Defensive back “Hitman” Hellams entered the program along with Jordan Battle, but took a while to get on the field. He initially got a role as a dimebacker, but in late 2020 he replaced Daniel Wright with an injury and put on a brutal clinic in the game. He returned as a full-time starter in 2021, but was dealing with an ankle sprain for the first half of the season that kept him in and out of the lineup early. Halfway through the season, Hellams returned and became a force in the back end for the Tide, amassing 87 tackles and 3 interceptions.
Brian Branch – Star starter Brian Branch is a player who came to Alabama as a 2-way player and has drawn many comparisons to former Tide safety Eddie Jackson for his unique combination of skills. Finally, in Dim earned a defensive role in 2020 and then shook off classmate Malachi Moore at Star for the remainder of 2021.
Branch is an explosive, hard-hitting player who is often tasked with shutting down the best and most unique weapons on opposing offenses, whether it’s RB/WR Ainias Smith, TE Kyle Pitts or TE Brock Bowers. And for the most part, the tasks and roles he covered were quite unique.
The hope is 2022, his first full season as a rookie, will be the year he completes an all-American caliber season.
And seriously, just don’t throw a screen across the field. Your poor block may not exist.
Returning the former starter
Malachi Moore – Once a freshman passer for Bryan Branch as a freshman at Start, Moore went on a tear early in his freshman season en route to a freshman All-American campaign. Injuries have kept Branch in 2020 in 3 of the most important games. Moore returned in 2021, but played very hesitantly and was again replaced by Brian Branch. He was injured again and ended the season.
Moore is a versatile player with plenty of skill, and can fill in at most any position in the secondary. He’s the type of backup most teams would kill to have as their starter.
Christian Story – A 2019 Alabama Gatorade Player, Story made waves in 2020 as a raw QB/WR/LB/DB mix with great size and athleticism, but a lack of positional specialization. He has impressed in the previous two A-Day games and has been a special teams standout in 2021. Story is probably the primary backup for Hellams/Battle, and will be the next starter in 2023. Devonta Smith – Once an Ohio State commit, Smith was an under-the-radar recruit who flipped to Alabama in the 2021 cycle. Smith is a small man and has been employed mostly as a nickel cornerback, but he has mostly been working with the deep safety in his first year with the Tide.
The new boys
Jake Bishop – A rangy, explosive freshman out of Georgia, Bishop doubles as a wide receiver and kick returner. With his speed, look for him to take the field as a freshman this year and see if he can work his way into playing time down the road. Earl Little II – A fiery slot corner with a bit of NFL bloodline and from the same high school training that produced Pat Surtain II. He has incredibly quick feet and an aggressive style. He’ll be behind both Branch and Moore, but as a freshman it’s worth watching as someone who can put on 10 pounds or more and be the heir apparent to the All-Star spot.
Estimated depth chart
This one is pretty much set in stone as the Tide gets everyone back from the depth chart starting in 2021.
S- Jordan Battle, Christian Story, Jake Bishop
S- DeMarco Hellams, Devonta Smith
Starr- Brian Branch, Malachi Moore, Earl Little II
This position group should be in contention for the strongest position on the team with the QB and outside linebackers.