Why Alabama defensive line should again be dominant

Why Alabama defensive line should again be dominant

We’re taking a look at each position group as Alabama prepares to open spring practice next week. The sixth of a nine-part series looks at the defensive line.

Projected depth chart:

Defensive end — senior Da’Shawn Hand, junior Isaiah Buggs

Nose guard — junior Da’Ron Payne, senior Josh Frazier

Defensive end — sophomore Raekwon Davis, redshirt freshman Quinnen Williams

Departed: Jonathan Allen (69 tackles, 10 1/2 sacks), Dalvin Tomlinson (62 tackles, three sacks), Dakota Ball (12 tackles)

Due to arrive in the fall: LaBryan Ray, Phidarian Mathis

Outlook

In 2015, it was A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed and Jonathan Allen.

Last year, it was Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson.

Now, it will be Da’Ron Payne and Da’Shawn Hand leading Alabama’s defensive line.

Even after losing Allen and Tomlinson, the Crimson Tide should still have one of the best and most imposing defensive lines in the country because of Payne, Hand and young players such as sophomore Raekwon Davis.

Payne was a contributor as a freshman in 2015, started last season and is now seemingly ready to establish himself as one of the top defensive lineman in the nation.

During Alabama’s spring testing, the 6-foot-2, 310-pound Payne bench-pressed 545 pounds, squatted 635 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.03 seconds, a very good time for a player his size.

Hand is a former top recruit who has contributed as a rotational player the last three years. With Allen and Tomlinson gone, he will be depended on to take a step forward as a senior and become a productive starter.

Hand, Davis, four-star junior college transfer Isaiah Buggs and redshirt freshman Quinnen Williams are among the players that will be in the mix for the defensive end jobs vacated by Allen and Tomlinson.

Like Payne and Hand, Davis, Buggs and Williams all posted good numbers during Alabama’s spring testing.

All three ran the 40-yard dash in 5.12 seconds or better. In addition, Davis was tied for second on the team with a 335-pound power clean while Buggs bench-pressed 455 pounds and squatted 585 pounds. Williams had a 545-pound squat.

Other players like senior Josh Frazier should be factors in Alabama’s defensive line rotation as well.

Frazier was the backup nose guard behind Payne last year and posted eight tackles and a sack.

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Published at Sat, 18 Mar 2017 13:59:00 +0000