Tracking the Tide: Quinton Dial

Editor’s note: Each day between now and Alabama's date with Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship, we will review the season for a key Crimson Tide player or coach and attempt to project what’s next for him. Today we’ll look at defensive end Quinton Dial.

No. 91 Quinton Dial

Defensive end

21 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks

Role in 2012: Dial split time with Ed Stinson at defensive end in Alabama's base 3-4 alignment.

The good: The senior worked his way into the starting lineup after transferring from junior college a year ago, beating out Stinson and others for the starting nod. Dial's numbers didn't jump off the page but he was consistently strong in run support and did not find himself out of position much on defense.

The bad: Dial didn't seem a good fit for the new college game at times, struggling to get on the field when more athletic defensive ends were needed. With more and more offenses going toward mobile quarterbacks who can break containment, the need for big run-stuffers like Dial is dwindling.

Crystal ball: Dial could be one of the rare cases of a player doing better in the NFL than he did at Alabama. His size (6-foot-5, 307 pounds) will be attractive to general managers looking to fill out their rosters with versatile defensive linemen. While Dial will lack for game tape, he should perform well in combine and one-on-one situations. Jeoffrey Pagan and D.J. Pettway seem to be the prime candidate to step in at defensive end. Other options include Ed Stinson, LaMichael Fanning, Korren Kirven and Dalvin Tomlinson.