Redskins

Alabama holds off Georgia 32-28, advances to Miami

201211241325483121965-p2.jpeg

Alabama holds off Georgia 32-28, advances to Miami

ATLANTA (AP) AJ McCarron threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining, and No. 2 Alabama advanced to a national championship showdown with Notre Dame by holding off No. 3 Georgia 32-28 in a thrilling Southeastern Conference title game Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (12-1) trailed 21-10 after Alec Ogletree returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the third quarter.

But after Alabama surged ahead, it was Georgia (11-2) nearly pulling it out.

The Bulldogs were at the Alabama 4 after Chris Conley hauled in a short pass but the clock ran out before the Bulldogs could get off another play.

Both teams played like champions, but only the Tide is moving on to face the top-ranked Fighting Irish. Alabama finished with 350 yards rushing, an SEC title game record.

Quick Links

The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the top players in the draft pool may push the Redskins into continuing a short-term draft trend that appears to be working out fairly well for them. 

For seven straight years starting in 2009, the Redskins went along with the conventional wisdom in the draft, taking a player that primarily impacted the passing game or stopping the other team’s passing game, with their top draft picks. 

Their top pick (whether in the first or second round) in every draft from 2008-2014 was at a traditionally high-value position associated with the passing game—wide receiver (Devin Thomas), edge rusher (Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy), left tackle (Trent Williams), quarterback (Robert Griffin III), or outside cornerback (David Amerson). 

This was the Redskins going along with the conventional wisdom. Since 2000, 62 percent of first-round NFL picks have been players at those positions even though they account for just 32 percent of a team’s starters. 

The Redskins have shifted away for conducting the draft focused on the passing game at the top in two of the last three drafts. They took guard Brandon Scherff in the first round in 2015 and interior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen last year. I between, they went the old way with wide receiver Josh Doctson. 

This trend is likely to continue due in part to the makeup of the top talent in the draft. If you’re not looking for a quarterback, the top half of the first round is very light in talented players playing the positions that are most important to the passing game—outside cornerback, edge rusher, left tackle, and wide receiver. Cornerback Denzel Ward is a top-10 player as is edge rusher Bradley Chubb. But that’s about it at those positions and there are no wide receivers or left tackles worthy of consideration in the top 15.

That leaves players like interior defensive linemen Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne and inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds as players who have the potential to be the best available players on the board when the Redskins are on the clock. Traditionally, these players play positions that teams are looking for in the latter stages of the first round at the earliest. 

They could go the non-traditional way for the third time in four years with Vea, Payne, Fitzpatrick, or Smith. In fact, unless Ward slips or they pull off a major surprise it’s likely that they will.

Scherff has worked out well and Allen was getting the job done as a rookie before he got injured so perhaps the way the draft plays out will work out well for Washington.

More Redskins

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Quick Links

John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

The friendly feud between Wizards guard John Wall and Raptors superfan Drake nearly tilted to Washington over the weekend as the rap star apparently floated the idea of showing up for Game 3 in D.C. 

Drake, in fact, was going to bring with him a prop to show just how confident he was after his team went up up 2-0.

"I told him to be here for Game 3. He told me he was going to be here," Wall said. "He didn't show up. He told me we was getting swept and he said he had the broom for us."

Wall and Drake exchanged trash-talk throughout the first two games held up in Toronto as Drake sat courtside. Their back-and-forth was caught on camera and went viral.

Wall now has the upperhand with the Wizards having won two straight games as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"I wanted him to know that they wasn't going to sweep us," Wall said. "We did what we were supposed to do. We came home and took home court, won two games."

Wall continued to say that him and Drake "are just having fun." He has referred to Drake as a friend in the past and Drake is a fan of the University of Kentucky, where Wall starred during the 2009-10 season.

But that friendship is currently on hold. Wall, in fact, says isn't listening to any of Drake's songs during the series and that includes 'Nice For What,' Drake's latest single. The song is being played everywhere, but Wall is avoiding it. 

"I can't?" Wall said when told he can't get away from 'Nice For What.' "I always have my headphones on."

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WIZARDS HAVE TAKEN IBAKA OUT OF THE SERIES

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN