“He looks like Tarzan but plays like Jane”

jane.jpg 

The NFL Draft lasts just two days, but when Alabama gets shut out for the first time in 38 years, the blame game can go on forever.

Who’s at fault? Let’s call the roll.

Mike Shula, Mike Price and Dennis Franchione. And their staffs.  

Mike DuBose, Logan Young and Tom Yeager. And their enablers.

And don’t forget the strippers who moonlighted as recruiters.

They all played a role in the decline and fall of the Alabama Empire, which just found a new way to hit bottom despite the rebuilding that’s already begun.

If you thought Louisiana-Monroe was the low point, it wasn’t.

Draft weekend was.

It doesn’t get any lower than Mount Union 1, Alabama 0.

Besides the usual suspects – the dead horses kicked within an inch of their afterlives – is there anyone else at fault for this shocking development?  

As a matter of fact, yes.

Writers, bloggers and message-board posters.

Card-carrying members of Tide Pride, Crimson Tradition and the Red Elephant Clubs near and far.  

The entire Crimson Industrial Complex.

Anyone who cares about, cries about or just plain obsesses over Alabama football is an unindicted co-conspirator.

They didn’t sign the players who failed to get drafted or fail to develop the players who were signed, but they’re all guilty of making Alabama football bigger than life. When you make something bigger than life, you lose touch with reality.

When you lose touch with reality on the front end, it comes back to bite you on the back end. On game day and on draft day.

Too many people think too many Alabama signees are better than they are because they’re Alabama signees. They think too many Alabama players are better than they are because they’re Alabama players.

It’s a delusion born of history and passion.

Take DJ Hall. The NFL didn’t, not with a draft pick, though the 32 teams combined to draft 35 other wide receivers.  

The league took a cold, hard look at the leading receiver in Alabama history and didn’t like some of the things it saw, on and off the field.

Consider this snippet from the detailed pre-draft analysis of Hall that appeared on NFL.com: “Even if there is a $100 bill in the middle of the field with his name on it, he will not be found in that area. … He looks like Tarzan but plays like Jane.”

Simeon Castille, who wasn’t one of 32 college cornerbacks the NFL drafted, didn’t live up to a double dose of unrealistic expectations. He was a good Alabama player who happened to be the son of a great Alabama player.  

“Looks like Tarzan,” the NFL.com analysis of Castille said, “but he fails to generate much pop on contact.”

That’s a negative for a college cornerback who’ll have to shift to safety in the NFL because he’s considered too slow to play corner at that level.

Castille and Hall both signed free-agent deals, as did some other undrafted Alabama seniors. They all have a chance to write the next chapter of their life stories, outside the shadow of Alabama’s history, though Castille can’t escape the shade of the family tree.

Look at the bright side.

They were free agents.

Now they’ve been set free.

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