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Is Alabama's Latest Quarterback Run the Best in Crimson Tide History? All Things CW

There have been two great quarterback eras in Alabama football history, and this one already stands alone in terms of volume.

We're down to the final two weeks before the 2023 NFL Draft, when we'll find out if Alabama football will have a player selected first overall for just the second time in program history. 

Since 1948, Harry Gilmer has been the lone answer to that trivia question, although Joe Namath was the first-overall selection in the 1965 AFL Draft before the leagues merged. He was the 12th-overall pick by the St. Louis Cardinals that year before he took his game to the New York Jets, so he generally isn't listed among all-time No. 1 picks. 

This is the 75th anniversary, though, of Gilmer going to the then-Washington Redskins, and what a great way it would be for that drought to finally end. 

If Bryce Young is the first selection by the Carolina Panthers, and it's looking more and more likely, he will be the 20th former Crimson Tide quarterback to be selected in an NFL Draft, and sixth in the first round (unless you want to count Namath twice). 

That's the fewest selections among any position except tight ends and special teams. Granted, that's always the way it's supposed to be, but Alabama is now turning the league on its ear at quarterback like it has at numerous other positions under Saban.

QBU? That's a subject for another day. 

Young would also be the third first-round selection since 2020, joining Tua Tagovaolia (No. 5, Dolphins, 2020), and Mac Jones (No. 15, Patriots, 2021). Jalen Hurts, who played his final season at Oklahoma, was a second-round selection in 2020 by the Eagles. 

Alabama will have four starters in the league over a span of four years.

There's only one stretch in Crimson Tide history that even comes close, dating back to Paul W. "Bear" Bryant's first dynasty that included Namath and Kenny Stabler

Alabama QBs in the NFL Draft (1962-71)

Year, Name, Round, Overall

  • 1971 Scott Hunter Green Bay Packers 6 10 140
  • 1968 Kenny Stabler Oakland Raiders 2 25 52
  • 1966 Steve Sloan Atlanta Falcons 11 1 156
  • 1965 (NFL) Joe Namath St. Louis Cardinals 1 12 12
  • 1965 (AFL) Joe Namath New York Jets 1 1 1
  • 1962 (AFL) Pat Trammell, Dallas Texans 24 3 187

This isn't to suggest that Alabama has at least two future Hall of Famers in this latest group, but it does boast more collegiate accolades including the program's first Heisman Trophy winner at the position.    

You could almost include AJ McCarron in there as well, the three-year starter who won two national titles and finished second for the Heisman in 2013. In 2012, he had the nation's best passer rating, which is how the NCAA determines its passing champion, which Tagovailoa (2018) and Jones (2020) also achieved. 

For our purposes we're not because there's too big of a gap following his departure and Nick Saban started to go in a different direction with the offense in 2014. But the fifth-round selection in 2014 is still playing, and was lighting up the XFL with the St. Louis BattleHawks this spring before suffering a shoulder injury.

The Crimson Tide's renaissance at the position really began with the season opener in 2016, when Alabama absolutely destroyed USC in Arlington, Texas. Blake Barnett got the nod that day, only to be replaced by the player who just helped lead his team to the Super Bowl, Hurts. 

At the time, Hurts was the first freshman to start at quarterback for Saban. So we're really only seven years into this offensive dynamic, and there are no signs of it slowing down.

Bama in the NFL Database

All-Time Alabama Crimson Tide Players in the NFL
Former Alabama Crimson Tide Players Selected in the NFL Draft