In lieu of a real A-Day Game, Cecil Hurt and Brett Hudson selected their own A-Day Teams. Here are the full teams, and here is Hudson’s column describing his draft philosophy.
In building a team for A-Day, especially this year’s imaginary A-Day, the first rule was “go with what you know.”
The other team (we forgot to decide which one of us was the White team and which one was Crimson, but it’s Brett Hudson’s choices) probably went more dynamic with its first three choices. But experience was the main factor on this sideline, which is why Mac Jones was my choice at quarterback. Bryce Young might have been the sassier pick.
It might be possible to draw a comparison to next week’s NFL Draft and the Joe Burrow/Tua dichotomy. Burrow would be the safer pick while Tua might have more upside — or more downside. That continued through most of the Top 10, building a portfolio with a strong base in blue-chip players. That included Patrick Surtain II, an anchor in the secondary (and arguably the best available defender with Dylan Moses on injured reserve), and Evan Neal, a foundation tackle.
The first wide receiver pick was tough since both Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle were available. Neither choice could be “wrong” and my pick (Smith) was influenced by the fact that there are no live kick returns in A-Day.
The pattern that began to emerge was one of experience on offense and youth on defense. That wasn’t a surprise since Alabama’s overall 2020 roster will be structured in much the same way. The idea was to build the rest of the offensive line alongside Neal with experience: Deonte (Cornbread) Brown, the versatile Landon Dickerson and Chris Owens, as well as Miller Forristall at tight end. The only player without significant playing time was Pierce Quick but that’s not surprising when a total of 10 offensive linemen were chosen.
Meanwhile, the youth movement that came later in my draft was predicated on two things. First, Alabama is so rich at the running back position, the assumption was that you could easily get quality no matter how late you waited, especially after Najee Harris went off the board. My team eventually ended up with Trey Sanders and early-entrant Jase McClellan and there were at least three more quality running backs available when the draft ended after 25 picks.
Defense was somewhat more problematic but there was a limited pool of experienced defensive linemen (a common theme in most of college football) so I went for young and talented: Christian Barmore, Justin Eboigbe, Chris Braswell, Will Anderson, Shane Lee and King Mwikuta backed by a more experienced secondary (Surtain, Josh Jobe, Daniel Wright and Eddie Smith).
You might not be able to guess a winner in our mock A-Day but you could probably guess who was older (me) if not wiser. If only we had a game to give us proof.
WR Slade Bolden
OL Deonte Brown
OL Pierce Quick
DL Justin Eboigbe
DL Stephon Wynn
LB Christian Harris
LB Chris Braswell
LB Will Anderson Jr.
WR John Metchie III
OL Darrian Dalcourt
OL Kendall Randolph
DL Phidarian Mathis
DL Byron Young
LB Christopher Allen
LB Ale Kaho
LB Demouy Kennedy