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Draft recap: A couple of shockers, but mostly what was expected

Draft recap: A couple of shockers, but mostly what was expected

The problem with draft prospects telling reporters that they’ve “received a second-round grade,” for instance, is that NFL teams blow more smoke than the Marlboro Man in a bowling alley bar.

Along those lines, the results of the 2014 NFL Draft, from an Alabama players’ perspective, went about the way everyone expected. Not every Bama player with a draft grade got drafted, and some fell far below their expected position. With the exception of quarterback A.J. McCarron’s free-fall into the fifth round, and perhaps the fact that Anthony Steen went undrafted, there were no major surprises.

Here’s a recap of Alabama’s draft picks, compared to where TideFans.com projected them in two prior articles.

Draft short-take: Are UA stocks rising or falling?

It may be tax day, but presumptive Alabama draftees are less concerned with taxes and more concerned with stocks.

And we don’t mean of the Dow Jones variety.

Now that pro days have concluded, here’s a brief look at where we projected Alabama’s players a few weeks ago, and whether they’ve done anything to raise or lower their value as draft day approaches.

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Recruiting: Alabama planning for 2015 with 2014 class choices

While every team suffers losses from one year to the next, the hit to the roster Alabama took following the 2013 season – not just from graduation, but underclassmen opting for early entry into the NFL Draft – looks manageable for 2014.

The real question will be replacing upcoming losses following the 2014 season.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Alabama could have eight senior starters on its 2014 offense, with another two players virtual locks to leave early for the NFL Draft in April 2015. Running back T.J. Yeldon and wideout Amari Cooper will be juniors in 2014, and if either returns for his senior season, it would be an upset somewhere on par with Louisiana-Monroe winning a rematch of its 2007 game against the Crimson Tide.

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Sugar Bowl wrap-up: What will this game mean for Alabama’s future?

By the time Oklahoma recovered the final kickoff – a so-bad-it-was-funny moment that served as the perfect capper to the 2014 Sugar Bowl – the time for mulling over what might have been was long gone.

For the second time in six years, Alabama laid an egg in the Sugar Bowl to an inferior team. But in that regard, the 2014 game was at least an improvement over the 2009 Sugar Bowl, since Oklahoma, unlike Utah, was a worthy opponent.

Twice now under Nick Saban, Alabama has lost a title shot after Thanksgiving and ended up in New Orleans playing for pride. Both times, the results left Alabama fans wondering whether anyone on the team seemed to care.

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MSU preview: Tide’s biggest opponent this week? Emotional letdown

Mississippi State is a team in transition in 2013. And unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it’s a transition from contender to bottom-feeder.

The Bulldogs have become, overall, a respectable SEC team under head coach Dan Mullen, but have yet to take the next step up. Mullen has become somewhat notable, not necessarily for his successes, but rather for his struggles against other SEC West opponents. He also heads the program that lost Cam Newton to Auburn in 2010, and in seasons since, the program endured allegations of NCAA rules violations. No SEC program embodies the concept of “almost” quite like Mississippi State.

But the biggest problem Mississippi State faces in the here and now, is that this is a team that continues to lose ground to all six of its SEC West competitors in regards to talent. MSU’s recruiting has always been scattershot, no matter the name on the head coach’s door. And in 2013, the Bulldogs find themselves rebuilding a defense undercut by graduation, and a depth chart that has suffered several key losses due to injury. Questionable handling of the quarterback situation has done Mississippi State no favors, either.

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Arkansas preview: Razorbacks in transition, Alabama looking for domination

For Alabama fans who appreciate nostalgia, they’ll get plenty of it when Arkansas comes to town this week.

Why? Because they’ll swear Danny Ford was back in Fayetteville.

Bret Bielema took over the Arkansas program this spring after John L. Smith was mercifully let go after a season that could justifiably be called the most disappointing – relative to expectations – in the history of Arkansas football. The Razorbacks were coming off a string of high-scoring seasons under Bob Petrino, and the program was threatening to punch into the elite of the SEC West.

And then Bob Petrino got in a motorcycle accident, got caught lying about an affair and was relieved of his duties as the Razorback head coach. The coach of the Hogs had been thrown off his Hog and was found to have been acting like a pig.

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Ole Miss preview: Rebels hoping to catch Alabama in a down cycle

Reports out of Oxford this week tell the tale of Ole Miss players taking to Twitter to brag about a coming upset, and being a bit loose-lipped in media interviews about their opinions of the 2013 Alabama team, particularly the Crimson Tide’s pass defense.

It doesn’t seem to matter than Alabama’s pass defense has given up natch to any quarterback not nicknamed Johnny Football, or that this is a team coming off consecutive national titles and neither one were by accident. Whatever Ole Miss saw in the Texas A&M tape has certainly gotten the Rebels into a lather, and it will be up to Alabama to do something about it Saturday night. Ole Miss is probably the second-toughest game left on the Tide schedule outside of LSU.

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Texas A&M preview: Alabama must solve the Johnny Football riddle

For once, Alabama seemed to have been graced with a manageable schedule. After years of the Crimson Tide suffering through Roy Kramer-era schedules rife with curious off-week placement, unbalanced off-week rotations with opponents and frequent stacking of contender-quality opposition, the 2013 Tide schedule must have looked like a vacation at first glance.

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Virginia Tech review: Bama beats Beamerball at its own game

Alabama has looked choppy in openers before, including the last time these two teams met in Atlanta. But Alabama is playing a different game than Virginia Tech or approximately 110 other Division-IA programs are in 2013: Alabama is shooting for a national championship, and the product Alabama put on the field Saturday will have to improve by leaps and bounds to avoid being upset along the way. Alabama’s offense looked, quite frankly, inept. Aside from a couple of outstanding individual plays from running back T.J. Yeldon and one long pass play by A.J. McCarron to – who else? – Christion Jones, the Tide offense was badly out of sorts for most of the game.

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2013 Fall Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

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2013 Fall Previews: Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama finds itself in the unique and enviable position of two-time defending national champion as the 2013 season starts. While almost every team must replace departed players from one year to the next, the 2013 edition of the Alabama Crimson Tide retains a veteran presence throughout its roster, as well as returning its star quarterback and most of its playmakers on both sides of the ball.

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