What happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay in Vegas, especially when its the site of the 2022 NFL Draft. With the city of Las Vegas hosting, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell received the same amount of booing he always does, Wayne Newton and Donny Osmond announced picks and a marriage happened on the draft stage during the final day.
Nick Saban had more recruiting ammo to add to his arsenal, the SEC continued to be the most dominant conference at the draft and hundreds of players had their lives changed forever. Seven Crimson Tide players heard their names called during the three days of the draft and several others signed undrafted free agent deals shortly after the conclusion of the event.
Here are five things we learned from the 2022 NFL Draft regarding Alabama football.
1. First Round Streak Continues
With the New York Giants taking offensive lineman Evan Neal seventh overall, Alabama's streak of having a player drafted in the first round reached 14 years, tying the record set by the Miami Hurricanes from 1995-2008. In this span, Saban and Alabama have had 41 players selected in the first round. It's a streak that is certain to continue next season (but we'll get to that later.)
Wide receiver Jameson Williams was also picked in the first round Thursday night. He went 12th overall to the Detroit Lions. It marked the sixth Alabama receiver taken in the first round dating back to 2018.
Even though it didn't come anywhere close to matching the six first-round selections Alabama had in 2021, Williams and Neal's selections showed the depth of riches Alabama is able to churn out and develop year after year.
2. CFP Translates over to Draft
This should come as no surprise, but the four teams in this year's College Football Playoff reached that point because they were loaded with NFL talent and were among the teams to hear their names called the most often this weekend. Alabama, Cincinnati, Georgia and Michigan combined to have 36 players drafted this year.
Fresh off their first national title in over 40 years, the Georgia Bulldogs were the story of the draft with 15 players picked, setting a modern draft record. Cincinnati had nine players selected with seven from Alabama and five from Michigan.
Four of the first seven picks of the draft were from CFP teams, each representing a different school (Travon Walker at No. 1 from Georgia, Aiden Hutchinson at No. 2 from Michigan, Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner at No. 4 from Cincinnati and Neal at No. 7 from Alabama.) Overall, this year's CFP field produced 10 first round draft picks.
3. Fewest Alabama Players Drafted Since 2016
In total, Alabama finished with seven players drafted. Neal and Williams went in the first round, John Metchie III (No. 44 overall, Houston Texans) and Phidarian Mathis (No. 47 overall, Washington Commanders) went in the second round, Christian Harris (No. 75 overall, Texans) and Brian Robinson Jr. (No. 98 overall, Commanders) went in the third, and Jalyn Armour-Davis (No. 119 overall, Baltimore Orioles) was the only Day 3 selection from Alabama.
Depending on whether or not you count Jalen Hurts in 2020, Alabama has had at least 10 players drafted each year dating back to 2017. Because of the NFL draft factory that Alabama has become, this may seem like a down year to Crimson Tide fans.
To put it into perspective in current terms, Auburn had one player drafted and Texas had zero. In past terms, prior to Saban's arrival in 2007, the last time Alabama had seven or more players taken in a single draft was 1987. Saban has accomplished that feat 12 times in the last 13 years.
4. Two Players Slide into UDFA
Edge rusher Christopher Allen and cornerback Josh Jobe were projected to get drafted on Day 3. Both players were hampered by injuries throughout their Crimson Tide careers and slid off draft boards and into free agency.
Allen signed an UDFA deal with the Denver Broncos, and Josh Jobe signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. While both Allen and Jobe could have increased the Alabama draft total, sometimes free agency can be better for a player than a late-round pick because it allows them more say in where they end up. Allen and Jobe landed in places where they can battle for roster spots.
LaBryan Ray and Slade Bolden also signed deals as undrafted free agents with the Patriots and Ravens respectively.
5. Points to Potentially Huge 2023 Draft Class for the Crimson Tide
While this year was a down year (by Alabama standards), next year stands to be massive with the Crimson Tide potentially having the top two overall picks in Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr.
This year's draft was unusual in several ways with one being the lack of quality quarterbacks available and taken. The first quarterback did not come off the board until Kenny Pickett at No. 20 to the Steelers. Another quarterback wasn't selected until Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder was picked in the third round by the Atlanta Falcons at No. 74 overall. Many teams will be looking to add a franchise quarterback in next year's draft class, and Young could fit the mold.
As a true sophomore, Anderson put up ridiculous numbers with 17.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss, better numbers than many of the top draft picks in 2022. Anderson has the size, talent, skill, work ethic, intelligence and athleticism to be a top overall selection come April 2023. Add in guys like Jordan Battle and Henry To'oTo'o, and the Crimson Tide could be setting more draft records next year.