Tom Brady and the Fraternity of Pick No. 199

Tom Brady and the Fraternity of Pick No. 199

Instant Analysis: 12 Thoughts From the First Round of the 2021 NFL Draft

The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft both made history and was a lot of fun to watch as six former Alabama player heard their names called
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Maybe it's because last year's NFL draft was completely virtual, the first round from Cleveland on Thursday night was a lot of fun. 

Here are a dozen things that came to mind: 

1. The player I'm happiest for is offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood. There were about five teams picking early in the second round that would have been a good fit for him, but 17th overall by the Raiders beat expectations. He'll get a four-year deal for approximately $14.4 million, including a $7.8 million signing bonus. Returning for his senior year definitely paid off. 

2. Mac Jones ended up with the perfect team for him. So did Najee Harris.

3. There was a moment when Jones was walking to the stage he seemed to give a look of being ticked off. Going third to the 49ers would have resulted in a contract worth $34.2 million ($22.2 million signing bonus). Instead, he'll get a deal for less than half that, $15.6 million overall ($8.7 million signing bonus). Jones will have no trouble re-finding that chip on his shoulder. 

4. Since they'll be in the same division, we'll get to see Jones vs. Tua Tagovailoa twice a year, maybe for a long time. 

5. Tagovailoa gets to throw to Jaylen Waddle, and Jalen Hurts will be passing to DeVonta Smith. The Patriots better get ready to take John Metchie III next year.  

6. Waddle, who had 106 career receptions, is slated to sign a contract worth $27.1 million ($17.1 million bonus). That's an average of more than $25,000 per catch.

7. Even though he went after Waddle, Smith was still drafted before the Crimson Tide's two wide receivers selected in 2020 (Henry Ruggs No. 12, Jerry Jeudy No. 15). 

8. Although Alabama has had 10 players selected in the first round of the last two NFL drafts, cornerback Patrick Surtain II was the lone defensive player. 

9. Alabama needed just 24 selections to tie the record for most first-round picks in a single draft, Miami in 2004. The Hurricanes did it in 21 picks, however, then didn't have another player taken until the seventh round. We'll always have to wonder how close a team selecting near the bottom of the first round may have been to opting for Christian Barmore or even Landon Dickerson. 

10. It finally dawned on me why Saban didn't attend the draft. He didn't want to become the story and take away from the players. With the six first-round selections, Saban's most ever, he topped Joe Paterno for the most first-round draft picks from a single school in college football history with 39. Overall, including the other schools he coached, Saban has 44 (with many more players he recruiting and coached who were first-round picks later on). Paterno is in second place with 33. 

11. Alabama's 2017 recruiting class has produced eight first-round selections, and still has some players to go including LaBryan Ray. 

12. If I ever need to hire a band for an event, the group that played the draft during the first round is at the top of my wish list. 

Maybe it's because last year's NFL draft was completely virtual, the first round from Cleveland on Thursday night was a lot of fun. 

Here are a dozen things that came to mind: 

1. The player I'm happiest for is offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood. There were about five teams picking early in the second round that would have been a good fit for him, but 17th overall by the Raiders beat expectations. He'll get a four-year deal for approximately $14.4 million, including a $7.8 million signing bonus. Returning for his senior year definitely paid off. 

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