Alabama’s DB’s ahead of spring practice

We are now less than a week away from Nick Saban and the Alabama football team taking the practice field to begin spring ball.

As is the case each offseason, there are many questions that need to be answered before the Tide hit the field to start the 2023 season.

As spring practice creeps closer, we are going to break down each position group on both sides of the ball. We have already looked at the quarterbacks, running backs, defensive line, tight ends, outside linebackers, inside linebackers, and wide receivers.

Today we will wrap up the defensive side of the ball and take a dive into the Alabama defensive backs.

Let’s roll!

Notable departures

AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

Brian Branch | Jordan Battle

DeMarcco Hellams | Eli Ricks

Alabama will be replacing a ton of talent and experience from the 2022 season and it will not be easy for the Tide. Brian Branch is a projected first-round draft pick and I expect the remaining departures to all be on NFL rosters in the fall.

Notable returning players

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Kool-Aid McKinstry | Malachi Moore

Terrion Arnold

Alabama is returning perhaps the best corner in all of college football in Kool-Aid McKinstry and also an experienced Malachi Moore and Terrion Arnold. Kool-Aid should lockdown one side of the field and Arnold perhaps the other side. Moore should hold down one of the safety positions, but outside of Kool-Aid, the competition is wide open.

New faces

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

Caleb Downs | Dezz Ricks

Tony Mitchell | Jahlil Hurley

Brayson Hubbard

Nick Saban and his staff added a ton of elite talent to the back end of the Alabama defense in the 2023 recruiting cycle. Perhaps the name that has everyone the most excited is Caleb Downs. Downs is an elite talent that could find playing time very early on in Tuscaloosa, but the future is bright for each of the 2023 signees.

What to watch for

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

Where Earl Little Jr. fits in

A young player that has a chance to make a lot of noise this spring is redshirt freshman Earl Little Jr. Little is a guy that the coaches are really excited about and has the ability to play at corner or at STAR. If I had to project where Little ends up, it would be at the STAR position replacing Brian Branch.

Projected depth chart

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

CB1: Kool-Aid McKinstry

CB2: Terrion Arnold

STAR: Earl Little Jr. | Caleb Downs

FS: Malachi Moore | Caleb Downs

SS: Kristian Story | Caleb Downs

This is one of the toughest groups to project a depth chart for mainly because it is uncertain what positions Moore, Downs, and Little will get the reps at this spring. So I simply went with my top six players in the back end and will let the pieces fall where they may! The Alabama defensive backs will be a ton of fun to dissect this spring.

Contact/Follow us @RollTideWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Alabama news, notes, and opinion. You can also follow Stacey Blackwood on Twitter @Blackwood89.

Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire

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