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Alabama in the Pros

Former Tide football standouts turning heads in NFL training camp

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard (No. 80) in training camp with head coach Dirk Koetter: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

It’s no longer a secret why University of Alabama football players excel at the professional level.

Head coach Nick Saban push each individual to its full potential in practice, and with that the players are able to empower themselves and others do well on game days. During the opening of training camp for some NFL teams on last week, six former Crimson Tide standouts found ways to impress their teammates and coaching staffs.

Marlon Humphrey and Tim Williams both put on a clinic for the Baltimore Ravens.

While Humphrey intercepted two passes, Williams displayed great speed and pass rush moves off the edge – frustrating the Ravens’ offensive line. After he was cleared training camp on Thursday of last week, linebacker Reuben Foster picked off two passes for San Francisco. 

As for Eddie Jackson and O.J. Howard, both have adjusted their new homes.  Jackson, who selected in the fourth round to the Chicago Bears, was credited with an interception during Saturday’s practice. Howard, a first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, continues to drop jaws – as he brought in a one-handed grab last week. 

Even Gehrig Dieter is having success, despite signing with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted rookie free agent. He’s building chemistry with both Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes, catching passes from both quarterbacks. In his lone season at Alabama after coming from Bowling Green, Dieter totaled 15 receptions for 214 yards and four touchdowns in 2016.

Stephen M. Smith is a managing editor and senior writer foTouchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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