Alabama Football: Crimson Tide still No. 1 for NFL teams

(Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) /

The annual NFL process of sorting through players is underway with rookie camps taking place. At least four former Alabama football players should start as rookies for NFL teams in 2023. It is possible the number will be as high as six or seven.

The Alabama Football pipeline to the NFL is as strong as ever. Currently, there are over 80 former Alabama Crimson Tide players on NFL rosters. The other top-producing college programs for NFL talent (LSU, Ohio State and Georgia) are still trying to match the Crimson Tide. The number of former Tide players could go up one more if Dylan Moses is picked up by the Seattle Seahawks.

Nine NFL teams have three or more former Alabama players in starting roles. One of the nine will grow to four when Brian Branch lands a starting role for the Lions.

NFL depth charts are fluid this far out from a new season. At this point, a reasonable projection is 24 NFL teams will have 46 former Alabama players as 2023 starters. As projected, the eight NFL teams without NFL starters are Kansas City, Green Bay, Minnesota, Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Arizona and San Francisco. Other than placekicker and punter, special teams players are not included in the projection.

Unlike most college football programs, Alabama Crimson Tide one-year starters and even backup players not only make NFL teams but also earn key roles. Examples are Josh Jacobs at Las Vegas, Brian Robinson Jr. at Washington, Kenyan Drake at Baltimore, and Raekwon Davis at Miami.

Notes on former Alabama football players in the NFL

  • Jameson Williams will not be an early-season starter at Detroit. He is suspended for six games for a violation of NFL gambling rules.
  • At 35, Kareem Jackson is the oldest former Alabama football player in the NFL. Jackson signed a one-year contract with Denver and has a good chance to start at safety for what will be his 14th NFL season.
  • Jarran Reed is back at Seattle for the 2023 season. Reed’s first five NFL seasons were with the Seahawks.
  • John Metchie III is back to football, after taking a year off for medical treatment for leukemia. He is expected to progress rapidly to a starting role for the Houston Texans at some point in the 2023 season.

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Alabama Football has had over 400 former players drafted by the NFL. The numbers have exploded with Nick Saban leading the Crimson Tide.