Alabama ties NFL Draft record for most first-round selections
It started a bit slower than expected, but Alabama’s draft night lived up to its lofty expectations. The Crimson Tide saw six players selected in the first round of Thursday night’s NFL Draft, tying the all-time record set by Miami in 2004.
Alabama was dealt some early disappointment as the San Francisco 49ers elected to take North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall instead of Mac Jones. However, the Tide began its first-round assault shortly after when receiver Jaylen Waddle was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 6 pick.
Waddle’s selection spurred a quick flurry of Alabama selections as cornerback Patrick Surtain II was selected No. 9 by Denver Broncos before the Philadelphia Eagles traded up two spots to No. 10 to select receiver DeVonta Smith. The three selections marked the first time Alabama had a trio of top-10 picks in a single draft.
The selections of Waddle and Smith marked the second straight year two Alabama receivers were picked in the first round of the same draft. Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy were both selected on Day 1 last year. Never before in NFL draft history had two receivers from the same school been selected in the same first round in consecutive years.
Heading into Thursday’s first round, there were several rumors that San Francisco would select Jones at No. 3 overall. A little over an hour and half after being snubbed by the 49ers, the Alabama quarterback’s draft wait ended when he was drafted by the New England Patriots with the No. 15 pick. The selection marked the 100th Alabama player picked in the Nick Saban era.
Two picks later, Alabama added to its total as offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood was taken by the Las Vegas Raiders. The selection came as somewhat of a surprise as the offensive lineman entered the draft heavily projected as a Day 2 pick. The Tide’s five draftees in the top 17 picks is the most by any school in 50 years.
Alabama tied Miami’s record at pick No. 24 as the Pittsburgh Steelers took running back Najee Harris. The Doak Walker Award winner was the first running back off the board.
Along with reaching the century mark in terms of draftees at Alabama, Saban also made history on the night. The Tide’s six selections on the night gave the head coach 125 draftees during his time in the SEC, passing former Ole Miss head coach Johnny Vaught’s conference record of 123.
Saban should add to that total Friday as Alabama has several players who should go off the board early in the second round. Defensive lineman Christian Barmore and offensive lineman Landon Dickerson were both projected as possible first-rounders in mock drafts leading up to Thursday. Linebacker Dylan Moses has been mocked anywhere from Rounds 2-4, while offensive lineman Deonte Brown has primarily been projected in Rounds 3-5.
Day 2 of the draft will begin Friday at 6 p.m. CT and will include the second and third rounds. The draft will conclude on Saturday with Rounds 4-7 beginning at 11 a.m.