Very different NFL Draft expectations for Alabama Football and the Auburn Tigers

Separated by just 157 miles, Alabama Football and the Auburn Tigers football program reside in two different football worlds.

Alabama Football is poised for another momentous NFL Draft, with four Alabama Crimson Tide players expected to be first-round selections. From a sampling of mock drafts, nine or ten former Crimson Tide players may be drafted. The 2024 NFL Draft will not set new program records for Alabama, but it will be a strong showing in the last Draft of the Nick Saban Era.

An example of the Auburn football program being eclipsed by the Alabama Crimson Tide is the NFL Draft. This is no idle claim. Compared to Alabama, Auburn's projected 2024 NFL Draft results are meager. For precise predictions, 7-round mock drafts are useless. After the first round, projections are mostly informed hunches or wild-eyed guesses. The football world loves them anyway, with there being more mocks than it is possible to count.

NFL Draft Comparison Alabama Football and Auburn Tigers

To compare Alabama and Auburn in the 2024 Draft, we use a 7-Round mock, provided by Vinnie Iyer and published by The Sporting News.

  • Iyer has four Alabama players selected in the first 26 picks of the first round. They are Dallas Turner at No. 8 to Atlanta; Terrion Arnold at No. 17 to the Jags; J.C. Latham at No. 18 to the Bengals and Kool-Aid McKinstry at No. 26 to the Bucs. Auburn has no projected first round selections.
  • Alabama is projected to have to two, second-round picks in Chris Braswell at No. 41 going to Green Bay and Jermaine Burton at No. 62 going to the Ravens. Auburn has no second round selections.
  • Neither program is projected to have a third round selection.
  • Finally on day three of the 2024 NFL Draft, two former Auburn Tigers are projected to be fourth-round picks. D.J. James is projected at No. 105 to the Chargers and Jaylin Simpson is projected at No. 124 to the 49ers. Alabama has no fourth-round selections
  • In rounds five through seven of the Draft, Alabama's Justin Eboigbe and Auburn's Nehemiah Pritchett and Marcus Harris are projected to be drafted.
  • Three other Alabama players, Will Reichard, Jaylen Key, and Jase McClellan are included in the late rounds of other mock drafts.

Auburn trailing inconsequential programs

Using Iyer's mock, nine of what can be called inconsequential college football programs have players drafted before Auburn's first selection. Those programs are Toledo, UCF (with former Alabama player Javon Baker), Western Michigan, Yale (double ouch to the Aubies), Rutgers, UConn, Western Kentucky, Boston College and Troy.

All of the above begs a question. What is it that Hugh Freeze can sell? Auburn has not had a winning season since Gus Malzahn was run off in 2020. What followed the Gus Bus was mediocrity. Bryan Harsin (and Cadillac Williams) were 11-14 in two seasons. In Hugh's first Auburn season, the Tigers were 6-7. Auburn has two bowl wins in its last 10 seasons, the Birmingham Bowl in 2015 and the Music City Bowl in 2018.

After Nick Saban's retirement, Auburn fans were giddy over a presumed pendulum swing in which Auburn's fortunes would soar while Alabama's crashed. The reality has been far different from the claims.

Freeze can throw around NIL dollars and land some good players. But so far, most of his additions are uninspiring. He can spin Auburn's old 'family' theme. He can offer immediate starting roles. He can even boast of a personal redemption, and being a new man. But he can't sell the promise of football success; not against Alabama, not in the SEC, and not in the NFL Draft.

It makes someone wonder, why anyone is buying anything Hugh sells.