NFL Draft Tracker on BamaInsider
The BamaInsider staff will provide you with the latest on the NFL Draft. This page will be updated throughout the next three days. Click the play button to join the BamaInsider watch party which will start at 7:00 p.m. CST.
NFL Draft Details
Thurs., Apr 29, 2021 – Sat, May 1, 2021
7 p.m. CST on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network
Round One Picks from Alabama
Jaylen Waddle goes No. 6 overall to the Miami Dolphins
Jaylen Waddle is rejoining forces with Tua Tagovailoa in Miami. The Dolphins selected Waddle with the No. 6 pick in Thursday’s NFL draft, teaming the Alabama receiver up with his former college quarterback. Miami selected Tagovailoa with the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s class.
Waddle was the first Alabama player off the board. He was the second receiver taken in the draft behind LSUs Ja’Marr Chase, who went one pick earlier to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Waddle played in just five full games last season after injuring his ankle against Tennessee on Oct. 24. He was able to return in time for Alabama’s national championship win over Ohio State where he recorded three receptions for 34 yards. Despite missing the majority of the season, Waddle still managed to tally 28 receptions for 591 yards and four touchdowns. The speedy receiver is also a threat on special teams where he led the nation averaging 24.35 yards per punt return in 2018.
“Thrilling, game-breaking talent who will come into the league as one of the fastest receivers to ever play the game,” NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his draft analysis of Waddle. “His whereabouts pre-snap and post-snap must be accounted for at all times. Despite his size, he's a legitimate outside option, thanks to his ability to not only take the top off the defense, but also go up and win 50-50 throws."
Patrick Surtain goes No. 9 overall to the Denver Broncos
Patrick Surtain II is headed to the Mile-High City. The Alabama defensive back was the second Crimson Tide player selected on the night when he was selected No. 9 overall by the Denver Broncos. Jaylen Waddle was Alabama’s first pick of the night going No. 6 overall to the Miami Dolphins.
Surtain earned All-American honors last season, leading Alabama with 12 pass deflections to go with an interception which he returned 25 yards for a touchdown. He was the highest-graded cornerback in the nation, earning an 89.9 defensive grade from Pro Football Focus. Surtain, 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, is the son of three-time Pro Bowler Patrick Surtian Sr.
“If you wanna talk about accountability and responsibility, you’re never gonna find anybody that’ll do it any better than he does,” Saban said last month. “And the guy’s got really good skills to play in the position. He’s very instinctive. He’s got great length, he’s got great size. He’s a good cover guy. He’s got really good feet. He’s smart. He understands the game, he understands the offense and what they’re trying to do. He’s always very well-prepared. We always give our guys a little scouting report assignment that they have to do, and his is always the best of just about anybody that presents to the team. I think he’s gonna have a great career.”
DeVonta Smith goes No. 10 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles
Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner has a new home. DeVonta Smith became the third Crimson Tide player off the board during Thursday night’s NFL draft when he was selected No. 10 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles acquired the pick from the Dallas Cowboys, moving two spots up from No. 12 overall. Smith will be reunited with former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.
Earlier in the night, Alabama saw Jaylen Waddle selected No. 6 overall by the Miami Dolphins and Patrick Surtain II selected No. 9 overall by the Denver Broncos. This is year marks the first time in history Alabama has three players selected in the top 10 of the draft. Smith was the 100th Alabama player selected in the Nick Saban era.
Smith led the nation in receptions (117), receiving yards (1,856) and receiving touchdowns during his record-breaking senior season. That included 12 receptions for 215 yards and three touchdowns during Alabama’s national championship victory over Ohio State, a game where he was forced to leave early in the third quarter due to a finger injury. Over his four-year career, Smith leaves Alabama as the program’s all-time leader in receptions (235), receiving yards (3,965) and receiving touchdowns (46).
Heading into the draft, there was some concern over Smith’s size as he reportedly measured in at 6-foot, 166 pounds during in-person medicals earlier this month. However, that size never prevented him from success at the college level.
“Tell me how many receivers are tougher than he is, that block better, that play more physical than he does,” Saban said last month. “So I think maybe there’s a time when you say this guy really overcomes the fact that he’s not the biggest guy in the world and he really plays this game really, really well. And I don’t think anybody could argue that fact.”
Mac Jones goes No. 15 overall by the New England Patriots
Mac Jones’ wait is finally over. The Alabama quarterback was selected by the New England Patriots with the No. 15 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Jones was the fourth Crimson Tide player selected on the night, following Jaylen Waddle (No. 6 overall, Miami Dolphins), Patrick Surtain II (No. 9, Denver Broncos) and DeVonta Smith (No. 10, Philadelphia Eagles). Jones was the 100th Alabama player selected in the Nick Saban era.
Heading into the draft, there were rumors that San Francisco was strongly considering taking Jones with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. However, the 49ers opted to take North Dakota State’s Trey Lance instead. Jones was the fifth quarterback selected Thursday night behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Lance and Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
Jones led Alabama to an undefeated national title last season during his first full year as a starter. Through 13 games, the Heisman Trophy finalist set the school’s single-season passing record with 4,500 yards through the air while also throwing 41 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Jones also set NCAA single-season records with a 77.4 completion percentage and a 203.06 passer efficiency rating.
“Mac has the ability to make plays because he’s smart,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said last month. “He’s accurate. He’s gonna throw the ball to the right place, and he’s gonna always help the offensive team be in the right situation, whether it’s a run or a pass or whatever. So he is really, really smart, but he’s always really well-prepared.
“But I think he analyzes what’s gonna happen before it happens in terms of what the expectation is for him on that particular play, and he has a good visualization of what our players are doing and how the defense is gonna react to it relative to what they do. And I think that’s what helps his decision-making process so that he makes good choices and decisions.”
Alex Leatherwood selected No. 17 overall by the Oakland Raiders
Alex Leatherwood helped Alabama reach SEC history. The Alabama offensive lineman became the fifth Crimson Tide selected Thursday night when he was drafted No. 17 overall by the Oakland Raiders. The five first-round sections for Alabama ties the SEC record set by LSU last year. Miami holds the all-time record with six first-round selections in 2004.
Alabama's other picks on the night included Jaylen Waddle (No. 6 overall, Miami Dolphins), Patrick Surtain II (No. 9, Denver Broncos), DeVonta Smith (No. 10, Philadelphia Eagles) and Mac Jones (No. 15, New England Patriots).
Leatherwood earned the Outland Trophy last season, serving as the anchor of an Alabama’s Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line. The starting left tackle averaged an overall blocking grade of 91.5 by the Alabama coaching staff and a 99.7 on assignments.
“I viewed him more kind of as a right tackle, and I’m gonna give him every opportunity to be successful there and show that he’s not a right tackle before I would kick him inside to guard,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said last month. “I know some teams have already done that -- they’ve already got him up on the board as a guard. He’s got some things to work at tackle, particularly he kind of opens up his outside gate a little bit and that’s allowed some pressures. … He’s not perfect. He’s got some technique flaws that he needs to work through, but to me, I’m gonna give him the opportunity to start at tackle, knowing that if that doesn’t work out, I’ve got an opportunity to have a really good guard.”
Najee Harris selected No. 24 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Even after his record-breaking career, Najee Harris is still helping Alabama make history. The Doak Walker Award winner became the sixth Crimson Tide player selected during Thursday night’s NFL Draft when he was selected No. 24 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The six first-round sections for Alabama ties Miami’s record of six set in 2004.
Alabama's other picks on the night included Jaylen Waddle (No. 6 overall, Miami Dolphins), Patrick Surtain II (No. 9, Denver Broncos), DeVonta Smith (No. 10, Philadelphia Eagles), Mac Jones (No. 15, New England Patriots) and Alex Leatherwood (No. 17, Las Vegas Raiders).
Harris is coming off of a senior season in which he led the nation with 26 rushing touchdowns while finishing third with 1,466 yards on the ground. The five-star back also recorded 43 receptions for 425 yards and four touchdowns through the air. Following his four-year career at Alabama, Harris leaves the Tide as the program’s all-time leader in rushing yards (3,843) and rushing touchdowns (46)
“Najee is, I think, an exceptional player,” Saban said last month. “He’s got great size. He’s a really good receiver. He’s instinctive as a runner. He’s tough. He’s hard to tackle. And he kind of gets better as the game goes on. So he’s got some really, really positive attributes. He’s always been a really, really good team guy here. So I love the guy, and I think he’ll be a really, really good player at the next level.”