Nick Saban's NFL Draft record will never be broken

On Thursday night Nick Saban will be the King of another NFL Draft. Alabama's NFL Draft success in the Saban Era will never be equaled.
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For good reason, never is a word, almost, never to be used. No one can offer a guaranteed prediction about the future. As in other things, Nick Saban is an exception to the rule. When the Thursday night session of the NFL Draft is complete, Nick Saban's count of NFL first-rounders is expected to increase by four. Nick Saban's final first-round number will never be broken.

Going into the 2024 NFL Draft, the Alabama Football Nick Saban Era has seen 123 Crimson Tide players drafted. A stunning 44 of them have been NFL first-round selections. When that count grows to 48 on Thursday night, it will be a standard that no other coach will ever achieve. No coach in college football's history comes close. It would take decades for current college football coaches to match Nick Saban. It is valid to predict that none of them ever will.

The 48 number does not include Nick Saban's first-round picks from his coaching stops at Michigan State and LSU. A total of six players coached by Saban at Michigan State and LSU were also selected in the first round, bringing the GOAT's overall first-round count to 54, including the 2024 Draft.

Going back to the 2000 NFL Draft provides added perspective. From 2000 through 2023, 209 SEC players were first-round selections. Nick Saban coached 50 of them.

During those 24 draft cycles, only four college football programs have produced 30 or more first-rounders. The count for the Georgia Bulldogs is 30; the Miami Hurricanes are at 32, and the Ohio State Buckeyes are closest to Alabama with 40. The Alabama Crimson Tide is No. 1 with 46 first-round selections, and all but two came in the Nick Saban Era. The Crimson Tide's two other first-rounders were Chris Samuels and Shaun Alexander in the 2000 NFL Draft.

Perhaps even more stunning are the NFL dollar amounts gained by Nick Saban's former Alabama Crimson Tide players. According to Max Olsen writing for The Athletic, based on past and current contracts, the figure is nearly $2.3B - and growing, with free agent deals and the contracts Alabama's 2024 drafted players will sign.

The 2024 NFL Draft will be the sixth time in the Nick Saban Era for Alabama to have four, first-rounders. It happened in 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2020. A new Alabama Crimson Tide record was set in the 2021 NFL Draft with six first-round selections.

Note: NFL Draft data provided by the NCAA.

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