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NFL DRAFT: The Alabama Conundrum

Yesterday we saw 3 Alabama players fall down the draft board from where they were expected to be drafted.   There is a trend that I am noticing as we continue to evaluate players from Alabama and how NFL scouting departments may be viewing them moving forward:

Players from Alabama that have slid in the the past 4 Drafts:

2017

Jonathan Allen (DT) – Projected Top 10, picked 17th

O.J. Howard (TE) – Projected Top 10, picked 19th

Cam Robinson (OL) – Projected Mid 1st, yet to be Drafted

 

2016

Reggie Ragland (ILB) – Projected Mid 1st, picked 41st

A’Shawn Robinson (DT) – Projected Mid 1st, picked 46th

Jarran Reed (DT) – Projected Late 1st, picked 49th

 

2015

Landon Collins (S) – Projected Mid 1st, picked 33rd

 

2014

A.J. McCarron (QB) – Projected Late 2nd, picked 164th (5th RD)

 

If you look at the above, you’ll notice in especially the last two drafts, that Alabama players have been falling lower than expected. Why is this happening?

I think you you have to look back at the drafts from 2012 & 2013 to see how the NFL organizations are viewing these highly touted Alabama players. NFL evaluators look at previous drafts from colleges to see if the players from that university produce in the NFL, especially if they have the same head coach. Nick Saban has been at Alabama since 2007 and is usually one of the top teams in the nation. Let’s take a look at their 2012 & 2013 early round Draft classes:

2013 NFL Draft

Dee Milliner (CB) – 9th Overall to the New York Jets

  • Out of the League

Chance Warmack (OG) – 10th Overall to the Tennessee Titans

  • Labeled as a “disappointment”, no longer on the team

D.J. Fluker (OL) – 11th Overall to the San Diego Chargers

  • Couldn’t quite meet the expectations of going that high, no longer on the team

Eddie Lacy (RB) – 61st Overall to the Green Bay Packers

  • Struggled with motivation, work ethic, and weight, no longer on the team

 

2012 NFL Draft

Trent Richardson (RB) – 3rd Overall to the Cleveland Browns

  • Out of the League

Mark Barron (S) – 7th Overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Wasn’t fit for NFL safety duties, no longer on the team

Dre Kirkpatrick (CB) – 17th Overall to the Cincinnati Bengals

  • Really struggled to be a competent NFL starter first few years, re-signed

Dont’a Hightower (LB) – 25th Overall to the New England Patriots

  • Excellent player, just re-signed with the team

Courtney Upshaw (OLB) – 35th Overall to the Baltimore Ravens

  • Never was able to produce consistently off the edge, no longer on the team

 

If you look at the above, you notice a few important facts:

  • Only 2 players (Hightower & Kirkpatrick) are still on the team that drafted them.
  • The two top picks from Alabama in 2012 (Milliner) & 2013 (Richardson) are out of the league.

You have to think that NFL general managers and team scouts are a little leery of Alabama players after looking back a few years and seeing the long list of  disappointments. I think this is why you see Alabama players fall in recent drafts, it’s just a little hesitation from general managers seeing the track record of Nick Saban’s top tier talents heading into the NFL.

Follow me on Twitter @Dan_R_Collins for more NFL Draft insight and analysis

About Dan Collins

I have always been an avid football enthusiast. The NFL Draft and Fantasy Football is my passion in the realm of football. I write Mock Drafts and inform readers of what is happening during the critical stages of the NFL Draft. I spend way too much time working through Fantasy Football analysis, situations, and thoughts; it is an issue. Follow on Twitter @Dan_R_Collins for Football info and the occasional joke or wisecrack.