football Edit

Alabama continues to be a 1st round draft pick factory under Nick Saban

Since 2009, Alabama has had 26 players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft | Getty Images
Since 2009, Alabama has had 26 players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft | Getty Images

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This year’s NFL Draft which premiers Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m. EST on ESPN in Nashville, Tennessee will again feature several members of the Alabama Crimson Tide having their name called. NFL Draft analysts project that at least four prospects from Alabama will go in the first round.

Defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is expected to be taken within the first five overall picks, offensive tackle Jonah Williams is projected to have his name called within the first twenty picks, running back Josh Jacobs is projected between No. 19 through No. 29 and tight end Irv Smith Jr. could go anywhere from No. 24 to No. 30.

DON'T MISS: Where NFL mock drafts have Alabama players landing

Since 2009, 26 former players from Alabama have been drafted in the first round. Following Nick Saban's first season with the Crimson Tide in 2007, Alabama had zero players selected during the first round. In 2009, offensive tackle Andre Smith was taken as the no. 6 overall pick to Cincinnati.

In the last three seasons under Saban who is now considered one of the greatest college football coaches in history, Alabama has sent nine players to the first round, providing further evidence that Saban’s method of “trust the process” works with not only winning games but also in the overall development of his players.

Over the last two seasons, Alabama has had a total of eight former players go in the first round. During the 2018 NFL Draft defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was selected No. 11 going to the Miami Dolphins, defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne was selected no. 13 to the Washington Redskins, linebacker Rashaan Evans was selected No. 22 to the Tennessee Titans and receiver Calvin Ridley was selected at No. 26 to the Atlanta Falcons.

Juniors Continue To Declare Early For NFL Draft

Fitzpatrick, Payne, and Ridley all elected to forgo their senior year following the 2017 season at Alabama and it literally paid off as Fitzpatrick agreed to a four-year deal worth $16.4 million which also came with a $10 million signing bonus. Payne signed a four-year deal worth $14 million and an $8.56 million signing bonus and Ridley inked a four-year deal worth $10.9 million with a signing bonus of $6 million.

Following the 2018 season, seven members of the Crimson Tide opted for the NFL draft instead of coming back for their senior season Quinnen Williams, Jonah Williams, Josh Jacobs, Irv Smith Jr. Mack Wilson, Deionte Thompson, and Saivion Smith. A grand total of 34 players have declared early for the NFL Draft from Alabama under Saban since 2008. During Alabama’s spring camp earlier this month, Saban made a comment about players leaving early for the NFL draft that went somewhat viral.

"Now, we have guys that have no draft grades, seventh-round grades, free-agent grades, fifth-round grades that are going out of the draft. And the person that loses in that is the player," Saban said. "If you're a third-round draft pick, and we had one here last year. I'm not going to say any names.. goes and starts for his team, so he's making third-round money, which is not that great. He'd be the first guy taken at his position this year, probably, and make $15-18 million more.”

While three of the five juniors that left for the NFL draft following the 2017 season made out with big cash in the draft, Ronnie Harrison and Bo Scarbrough lower tier deals. Harrison a third-round pick by Jacksonville signed a four-year deal worth $3.38M that included a signing bonus of $803,032. Scarbrough was drafted No. 236 overall by the Cowboys in the 7th round, but was released from the team last September.

Past Alabama Players Selected In The 1st Round

2018 - Minkah Fitzpatrick/DB - 11th/Miami

2018 - Da'Ron Payne/DL - 13th/Washington

2018 - Rashaan Evans/LB - 22/Tennessee

2018 - Calvin Ridley/WR - 26/Atlanta

2017 - Marlon Humphrey/DB - 16th/Baltimore

2017 - Jonathan Allen/DL - 17th/Washington

2017 - O.J. Howard/TE - 19th/Tampa Bay

2017 - Reuben Foster/LB - 31st/San Francisco

2016 - Ryan Kelly/C - 18th/Indianapolis

2015 - Amari Cooper/WR - 4th/Oakland

2014 - C.J. Mosley/LB - 17th/Baltimore

2014 - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix/DB - 21st/Green Bay

2013 - Dee Milliner/DB - 9th/NY Jets

2013 - Chance Warmack/G - 10th/Tennessee

2013 - D.J. Fluker/OT - 11th/San Diego

2012 - Trent Richardson/RB - 3rd/Cleveland

2012 - Mark Barron/S - 7th/Tampa Bay

2012 - Dre Kirkpatrick/CB - 17th/Cincinnati

2012 - Dont'a Hightower/LB - 25th/New England

2011 - Marcell Dareus/DT - 3rd/Buffalo

2011 - Julio Jones/WR - 6th/Atlanta

2011 - James Carpenter/OT -25th/Seattle

2011 - Mark Ingram Jr./RB - 28th/New Orleans

2010 - Rolando McClain/LB - 8th/Oakland

2010 - Kareem Jackson/CB - 20th/Houston

2009 - Andre Smith/OT - 6th/Cincinnati

2008 - No 1st round picks -

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