What Nick Saban has done in NFL Draft is amazing

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The NFL development factory Nick Saban has built in Tuscaloosa is a 21st-century marvel. Search through all the NFL Draft details going back to the first one in 1936 – and maybe another coach in another era came close to Saban. But, not one has done so in the Saban-Era.

Alabama Football NFL Draft History

According to DraftHistory.com, the Alabama Crimson Tide has had 384 players drafted. In the all-time list of programs, 384 is No. 6, just behind Michigan’s count of 387. The top four are Notre Dame with 520, Southern Cal with 516, Ohio State with 473, and Oklahoma with 402.

The other SEC schools having 300 or more players drafted are Florida (364), LSU (359), Tennessee (350) and Georgia (346). The count of drafted players in Auburn’s history is 289.

Not to quibble with the data, but using Pro-Reference.com data, and including Crimson Tide players drafted by the AFL and not the NFL, the Crimson Tide count is 387 players.

Looking at 21st-century numbers, Ohio State is the leader with 151 players drafted, followed by the Crimson Tide with 137 and LSU (133), Florida (125), Georgia (124) and Miami (123).

Nick Saban Alabama NFL Draft Counts (2009-2021 Drafts)

  • Alabama Crimson Tide – 106
  • Ohio State Buckeyes- 90
  • LSU Bengal Tigers – 89
  • Florida Gators – 78
  • Georgia Bulldogs – 74
  • Oklahoma Sooners – 69
  • Clemson Tigers – 69
  • Southern Cal Trojans – 67
  • Miami Hurricanes- 61
  • Florida State Seminoles – 59
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 59
  • Michigan Wolverines – 57
  • Penn State Nittany Lions – 55
  • Iowa Hawkeyes – 50
  • Auburn Tigers – 47

Crimson Tide fans might be interested to know during the same interval, the Tennessee Vols program had just 30 players drafted. That Vols’ output is so poor, South Carolina with no comparable winning tradition has had 45 players drafted during the period.

The next set of numbers, based on NFL Draft, first-round selections are the most astounding. They show how dominating Nick Saban’s first-round Draft production has been.

From NCAA.com, the numbers of 2001-2021 first-round selections by other top teams are: Ohio State (32), Miami (30), Florida State (24), USC (23), LSU (20) and Georgia (20). No other school has produced more than 17 first-rounders.

Per rolltide.com, Nick Saban has produced 39 Crimson Tide first-round selections, plus five more at LSU. In a fewer number of seasons (2009-2021) measuring the team production, listed above, Saban and Alabama have significantly outperformed the other programs.

Using Ohio State for comparison, during the 2009-2021 Drafts, the Buckeyes had 22, first-round selections, compared to Saban’s 39.

Note: Additional draft data was retrieved from OurLads.com

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An interesting note on Alabama NFL Draft history – in the first Draft (1936), Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers.