These rankings examine the next three seasons -- 2019, 2020 and 2021 -- and consider current players, incoming recruits and potential NFL departures for non-seniors. The rankings are a real-time snapshot, so while future coaching changes are considered, other factors are prioritized, especially proven players with multiple years of eligibility left.
Here's a look at last year's defense rankings. Now, let's get started.
2018 future defense ranking: 1
Scouting the Crimson Tide: Despite struggling late last season, especially against Clemson in the national title game, Alabama maintains a promising outlook on defense. The unit returns experience in 2019 at spots like end (Raekwon Davis and LaBryan Ray), linebacker (Terrell Lewis and Dylan Moses) and throughout the secondary, where veterans Shyheim Carter and Xavier McKinney are back alongside exciting younger players such as sophomore cornerback Patrick Surtain II. Outland Trophy winner Quinnen Williams will be missed, but there are options at nose tackle, including true freshman DJ Dale, who stood out this spring. Alabama finalized ESPN's top-rated recruiting class in February, featuring ESPN's top two defensive tackle prospects, Antonio Alfano and Ishmael Sopsher, and intriguing edge prospects such as Justin Eboigbe. Five-star pass rusher Chris Braswell is committed for the 2020 class.