Six Bama Players Listed in CBS Sports Top 100 NFL Players of 2015


Dec 28, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that Nick Saban is a master at developing collegiate talent into NFL talent, but you need no further proof of this than having six former Tide players in the list of a top 100 NFL players for 2015.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports released his Top 100 NFL Players earlier this week, and surprise surprise, it’s absolutely littered with talent from The Capstone. Saban has sent 17 players into the first round of the NFL Draft during his tenure in Tuscaloosa, so should this really be a shocker to any of us? Well, to us Bama fans, that’s a big negative. But to the rest of the football world? I guess so.

According to Prisco, the highest rated player from Alabama is 2011 first round pick Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons. It sounds ridiculous to think that some people are already forgetting about Jones and calling Amari Cooper the best receiver in Alabama history. I know Coop is a special player, but Julio is still Julio, and it’s quite prevalent, at least to the senior NFL writer for CBS Sports.

Up next on the list is the big man himself, Marcell Dareus. I can still see him now, intercepting Garrett Gilbert in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game and taking the rock to the house…

Ahhh the glory days…

But now we’re seeing him coming in at #51, and rightfully so. Dareus (and it’s pronounced DAR-EE-US, not DAIR-EE-US… Don’t worry, it took me a long time to come to terms with this, too) has been a staple for the Buffalo Bills since he was selected by them in the first round of the 2011 draft. The Bills were in the top 5 in total defense and pass defense in the NFL last season, in no small part due to Dareus.

Dont’a Hightower is the next Bama name you’ll see on the list. Hightower, drafted by the New England Patriots late in the first round of the 2012 draft, has had to earn his way as a starter on the NFL’s best team, and he made a significant impact for last season’s Super Bowl champions. He was second on the team in sacks, and helped lead the Patriots defense to ninth in the NFL in rush defense.

However, Hightower may not be able to start for the Pats come the 2015 season, as he has had surgery on his shoulder that he injured in Week 14 of last season. With him possibly being out for a while and Tom Brady still suspended for a few games for his role in Deflategate, the Pats hope to just weather the storm in their absence.

The next one on the list is not a Sabanized player, but he’s one of the best at his position in the world. Evan Mathis, guard for the Philadelphia Eagles, is the fourth highest listed offensive guard in the NFL. His play is one of the biggest reasons that the Eagles are able to put up their gaudy numbers, although the big uglies up front never get enough credit.

Oh, and I guess Chip Kelly’s system is another reason for the numbers, too… Okay, that’s more than likely the main reason.

At #85, Eddie Lacy decides to join the party. No offense to him, but who really saw Lacy as the most successful NFL back of the three great running backs of that period along with Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson? I’d be a liar if I took said that.

Lacy was an absolute workhorse last season. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and was able to score 13 touchdowns in 2014, plus his ability to run the ball opened up the passing game, allowing Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson to do their thing. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers isn’t the worst option in the world if you need someone to toss the ol’ pigskin around.

Rounding out the list is the most recent of the bunch to leave Alabama. C.J. Mosley comes in at # 97, and has already made a name for himself in the league by winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year honors this past season. As Prisco states, he needs work in coverage, but we Bama fans know how smart a player he is, and it’s only a matter of time before Mosley cracks the top 50.