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Alabama football: All-Drafted Team from Saban era (Offense)

Clint Lamb04/27/22
Article written by:On3 imageClint Lamb

ClintRLamb

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Alabama football has seen a lot of success in the NFL draft since Nick Saban took over the program back in 2007. In the last 15 drafts, 39 Crimson Tide players have been Day 1 draft picks with 68 others going on either Day 1 or 2. That’s an eye-popping average of 2.6 first-round picks per season.

We decided to put together offensive and defensive lineups of Saban’s All-Drafted Team. This isn’t made up of players who had the most success in the NFL or college. These are strictly lineups made up of guys who were drafted the highest at each individual position.

On offense, we went with one quarterback, a running back, three receivers, a tight end and five offensive linemen. Check it out below.

QB Tua Tagovailoa

Pick: First-round, No. 5 overall (2020)

Team: Miami Dolphins

On3 Consensus ranking: 5-star / No. 30 overall / No. 3 QB

Surprisingly — or maybe not — only two Alabama quarterbacks have been selected in the first round during the Saban era. The first was Tagovailoa back in 2020, followed by Mac Jones one year later. In 23 NFL games, Tagovailoa has thrown for 4,467 yards, 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

He’s expected to once again act as Miami’s starting quarterback in 2022.

RB Trent Richardson

Pick: First-round, No. 3 overall (2012)

Team: Cleveland Browns

On3 Consensus ranking: 5-star / No. 5 overall / No. 1 RB

No other Alabama running back has come close to touching how high Richardson was taken back in 2012. There have been three other first-round runners in Najee Harris (No. 24), Josh Jacobs (No. 24) and Mark Ingram (No. 28), but Richardson was in a category of his own.

Unfortunately, he barely lasted over a season in Cleveland before being shipped off to the Indianapolis Colts. From there, he only rushed for 977 yards and 6 touchdowns in 29 games. Still, Alabama fans will forever remember what the former five-star was able to accomplish in Tuscaloosa.

WR Amari Cooper

Pick: First-round, No. 4 overall (2015)

Team: Oakland Raiders

On Consensus ranking: 4-star / No. 44 overall / No. 8 WR

Cooper is now with his third NFL team — the Cleveland Browns — after successful stints with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. In his seven seasons in the league, he’s totaled 517 receptions for 7,076 yards and 46 touchdowns. Not too bad, right?

The Miami native will only turn 28 in June, so he should have at least a few more quality years as a top option in the passing game.

WR Julio Jones

Pick: First-round, No. 6 overall (2011)

Team: Atlanta Falcons

On3 Consensus ranking: 5-star / No. 3 overall / No. 2 WR

Jones is an Alabama fan favorite. Really, he’s a coach and player favorite, too. The former five-star talent from Foley (Ala.) was a key contributor to changing the culture in Tuscaloosa. He then went on to be a staple in Atlanta’s offense for a decade.

In 10 seasons with the franchise, Jones had 12,896 receiving yards and 60 scores. The now 32-year-old struggled to stay healthy as a Tennessee Titan this past season, but he did manage to contribute 434 yards and a touchdown in 10 starts.

WR Jaylen Waddle

Pick: First-round, No. 6 overall (2021)

Team: Miami Dolphins

On3 Consensus ranking: 4-star / No. 39 overall / No. 5 WR

Alabama’s 2018 recruiting class didn’t yield a lot of highly-drafted players. Patrick Surtain II was a top-10 pick last April, but the most notable recruit from that class is none other than Waddle. Despite competing for targets with other first-round talents in Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III, he still managed to be productive.

After finally landing a role as WR1 in Miami, Waddle put up 104 receptions — on 140 targets — for 1,015 yards and 7 total scores. He’s expected to once again act as one of Tagovailoa’s top targets in his second season, even with the team adding Tyreek Hill.

TE O.J. Howard

Pick: First-round, No. 19 overall (2017)

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On3 Consensus ranking: 5-star / No. 26 overall / No. 1 TE

Howard was underutilized at Alabama. He spent four seasons in Tuscaloosa and only had 7 touchdowns, but he did produce 83 catches for 1,197 yards and 5 scores over his last two years. The former Prattville (Ala.) star then became a top-20 selection in 2017, making him the only first-round tight end of the Saban era.

After a promising start to his career in Tampa Bay, things trailed off — mostly due to injuries. In five seasons, the now 27-year-old has had 119 receptions for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns. He recently signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

OL Andre Smith

Pick: First-round, No. 6 overall (2009)

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

On3 Consensus ranking: 5-star / No. 3 overall / No. 1 OT

Smith was Saban’s first Day 1 draft pick at Alabama. He’s gone on to have one of the longest careers in the NFL, too. He spent his first seven seasons with the Bengals, playing in 82 games with 73 starts. He did have a couple more stints with Cincinnati in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but he also spent time with the Cardinals and Ravens.

Smith is currently a free agent.

OL Jedrick Wills Jr.

Pick: First-round, No. 10 overall (2020)

Team: Cleveland Browns

On Consensus ranking: 4-star / No. 34 overall / No. 7 OT

Wills did something spectacular after being a top-10 pick by the Browns in 2020. Despite spending his entire career at right tackle, the former top-40 prospect made the transition to the left side as a pro. So far, he’s had a lot of success in his new position. In his first season, he made the NFL All-Rookie Team for the PFWA.

Hopefully, he can continue to be a key member in an offense that now features Cooper at receiver.

OL Chance Warmack

Pick: First-round, No. 10 overall (2013)

Team: Tennessee Titans

On3 Consensus ranking: 4-star / No. 322 overall / No. 25 IOL

If you can believe it, Warmack is the only Alabama player to make this offensive list who wasn’t at least a top-50 prospect coming out of high school. In fact, he was barely even a four-star recruit, and yet he’s one of only 15 Crimson Tide players to go in the top 10 during the Saban era.

Unfortunately, Warmack never quite lived up to his draft pedigree. He did start 46 games at right guard for the Titans over his first three seasons, but his subpar play led him to free agency in 2017. He eventually latched on with the Eagles and spent two years in Philadelphia. He hasn’t played since 2018.

OL D.J. Fluker

Pick: First-round, No. 11 overall (2013)

Team: San Diego Chargers

On3 Consensus ranking: 5-star / No. 11 overall / No. 1 OT

Fluker was a part of the same draft class at Warmack. In fact, he only went one pick later to the Chargers. Similar to his former teammate, Fluker also struggled to live up to the hype. He bounced between right tackle and right guard during his four seasons in San Diego and has since seen stints with the Giants, Seahawks and, most recently, the Ravens.

The 31-year-old is currently a free agent.

OL Jonah Williams

Pick: First-round, No. 11 overall (2019)

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

On3 Consensus ranking: 5-star / No. 11 overall / No. 2 OT

Williams was an instant starter at right tackle for Alabama. He then made the switch to the left side during his second season and continued to thrive. That’s what led him to be Cincinnati’s first-round pick two years ago. After a lost rookie season, the California native found his footing in Year 2 and showed tremendous improvement last year.

Now, he’s a part of a Super Bowl contender.


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