It was a historic night for Alabama football at the 2021 NFL Draft as six former Crimson Tide players found their respective homes in the National Football League.
The six players drafted is tied for the most-ever by a single team in the first round. The 2004 Miami Hurricanes is the only other team to have six players drafted in the first round.
The first Alabama player of the night to be drafted was wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who found his professional football home in the Miami Dolphins with the No. 6 overall pick. Waddle joins former Alabama quarterback and teammate Tua Tagovailoa, who the Dolphins drafted as their first pick of the 2020 draft at No. 5 overall.
Next up was cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who was drafted No. 9 by the Denver Broncos. While on the defensive side of the football, Surtain will be joining former Crimson Tide teammate in wide receiver Jerry Jeudy in Denver.
After some pick trading between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, Alabama football saw another one of its players get drafted with the very next pick in wide receiver DeVonta Smith at No. 10 to the Eagles. Smith, like Waddle, joins former Alabama quarterback and teammate Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.
While quarterback Mac Jones was expected to be drafted higher than his ultimate destination, heading into Thursday night there was a lot of speculation that if Jones fell far enough he would be snatched up by coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
The predictions ultimately came true, as Jones was drafted at No. 15 and will join former Crimson Tide running back Damien Harris in Foxborough.
Just two picks later, the fifth Alabama player of the night in offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood was drafted. Leatherwood went No. 17 overall to the Las Vegas Raiders, where he will be reunited with former Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.
The sixth and final Crimson Tide pick of the first round came down to the No. 24 pick and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both Alabama center Landon Dickerson and running back Najee Harris had been highly regarded as the two most likely picks of the Steelers in the first round, but ultimately Pittsburgh made its choice in Harris.
With Harris' pick by the Steelers, Alabama tied the all-time record for most picks from a single team in the first round. Despite having multiple players still left on the board, the final seven picks of the first round went by, and Alabama had to settle with tying the Hurricanes' 2004 record.
The Crimson Tide heads into the second round of the NFL Draft with talent still available, highlighted by Dickerson, offensive guard Deonte Brown, defensive lineman Christian Barmore and linebacker Dylan Moses.