It looks like once again, the Alabama Crimson Tide will dominate the 2016 NFL draft. With a heavy focus on defense, the Tide is projected to have at least 3 players selected in the first round alone.
University of Alabama football players have become a hot commodity in the annual NFL Draft, especially since Nick Saban landed on campus in 2007. Before Coach Saban arrived, the National Football League drafted 273 players from UA.
Since 2008 (Saban’s first full recruiting class), 48 more players have been added to that list for a total of 321 Crimson Tide football players being drafted into the NFL.
Saban proclaimed from day one at UA that he would establish a championship product on and off the field, and the constant NFL interest in Alabama players proves that he has done just that.
Of the 48 Saban pumped into the draft, 17 of them have gone in the first round. That number will likely increase this year since Bama has 3 players projected to be selected in the first round on Thursday, with a possible 4th in Derrick Henry (who has bounced between 1st and 2nd rounds in draft projections).
The 2016 NFL Draft is thought to be heavy on the defensive side of the ball. That sets up perfectly for the Alabama draftees, considering trio of Alabama first rounders are all on top picks in their defensive positions.
Some mock drafts differ in their opinions on who will go first for the Tide, but most agree A’Shawn Robinson will be the first Alabama player taken by the Houston Texans at pick number 19. Houston needs someone to eat up blocks and take the double teams away from J.J. Watt, and they feel Robinson is the answer. A’Shawn continuously took on double teams for the Tide, that allowed the pass rush to be extremely effective during Alabama’s National Championship run.
Jarran Reed is projected to go at 21 to the Washington Redskins who desperately need defensive line help, and few in the draft are thought to be as NFL ready as Reed.
Alabama will be well represented in the first round of this years NFL Draft, and also have some great players that will be selected in later rounds including Center Ryan Kelly who is rated as the top Center in the draft(Some mock drafts have Kelly going late 1st round to Seattle at 26th pick). By the time the draft concludes, Alabama is projected to have 7 or 8 players drafted (the 8th being dependent on Jake Coker’s questionable draft stock).Reggie Ragland is the last projected first round selection from Alabama at number 28 by the Kansas City Chiefs; this would be a homerun pick by Kansas City who needs a leader to pair with Justin Houston at the linebacker. Many NFL scouts call Ragland the best sideline-to-sideline tackler in the entire draft.
Alabama Draftee projections (excluding first round):
Derrick Henry : 40th pick to NY Giants
Kenyan Drake: 90th pick to Seattle Seahawks
Cyrus Jones: 167th pick to Arizona Cardinals
The University of Alabama has consistently been well represented in the NFL Draft, especially since Nick Saban’s arrival, and the 2016 version will be no different.