Alabama Football: First Round could set Tide NFL Draft record

Alabama Football fans are poised for another big NFL Draft year for the Crimson Tide. In terms of first-round selections, it could be the greatest year in Alabama Football history. The Crimson Tide record for first-round picks was tied last season with four selections. The Crimson Tide has also had four first-rounders in 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018.

In the Alabama Football portion of his coaching career, Nick Saban has had 33 players selected in the first round. As or even more impressive is with the 2021 NFL Draft, Nick Saban will pass a milestone of having 100 Crimson Tide players drafted by NFL teams. Going into the 2021 Draft, the count is 96 players and the selections in a couple of weeks will blow past the century count.

Opinions of what players will be drafted by what teams, at what stage of the Draft, are abundant. A fair word to describe the multitude of mock drafts is ubiquitous. Fans choose which soothsayer to believe or ignore them all while creating their own mock drafts.

It can be great fun as long as a high degree of accuracy is not expected. The first few picks are the easiest. Overall first selections are infrequently surprises. This year’s consensus has Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be No. 1 and No. 2. There is debate about Mac Jones being or not being locked in at No. 3 to the 49ers.

Mel Kiper’s most recent mock draft provides details of his predictions for the first 64 selections. Kiper straddles the fence on Mac Jones; no doubt simultaneously pleasing and displeasing Alabama football fans. Kiper says Mac will be the No. 3 pick, but that Mac is not the third-best quarterback in the Draft.

Kiper mostly redeems himself with Crimson Tide fans, by predicting six former Alabama football players will be first-round picks. After Mac at No. 3, Kiper has DeVonta Smith going to the Carolina Panthers at No. 8. He has Smitty as the second wide receiver drafted after LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. Jaylen Waddle is the next WR selected, going at No. 11 to the New York Giants. Immediately behind Waddle at No. 12 is Patrick Surtain II to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kiper has Najee Harris going to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 24. The sixth first-rounder in Kiper’s mock is Christian Barmore at No. 32 to Tampa Bay. According to Kiper, Landon Dickerson will go early in the second round at No. 39 to the Carolina Panthers.

Kiper’s mock brings excitement to Crimson Tide fans. But there is one glaring omission. Kiper projects 12 offensive linemen will be drafted in the first two rounds. He has none of those selections going to Alex Leatherwood.