What was wrong with the 2019 Alabama draft class?
It only had three first-round selections.
All kidding aside, Alabama having four first-round picks for the third time in four years was a remarkable achievement on Thursday night. With nine selections in the first three rounds, Nick Saban can already claim to have coached 10 players in each of the last four NFL drafts by factoring in quarterback Jalen Hurts.
It was pretty much assumed that when Saban landed at Alabama the Crimson Tide would essentially become the premier program for potential NFL players, but no one quite expected this.
No one even expected the success of the first class to have four first-rounders, 2011, which set a program record
While defensive lineman Marcell Dareus and wide receiver Julio Jones were early picks as expected, and running back Mark Ingram II was a late selection, tackle James Carpenter was a bit of a surprise selection at No. 25 by the Seattle Seahawks.
Previously, Alabama had three first-round selections in both 1993 (John Copeland, Eric Curry and George Teague), and 1948 (Harry Gilmer, Lowell Tew and Vaughn Mancha). It also came just three years after the Crimson Tide didn’t have a player selected in the draft for the first time in three decades.
“Every time my phone rang and rang and rang it was me, this is my turn,” Dareus said after being the third-overall selection by the Buffalo Bills. “I can't explain the way I felt.
“I just want to play this game, man. Since I’ve been playing I never thought I would get to this point where I was sitting here in the first round, third pick overall, Buffalo Bills. It’s overwhelming, I can't even explain it.”
Jones went just a few minutes later at No. 6, when after a day of rampant rumors the Atlanta Falcons moved up from No. 27 and in exchange gave the Cleveland Browns their first, second and fourth round picks in 2011, plus their first and fourth in 2012.
“Atlanta is going to love him,” said Coach Nick Saban, who was one of Jones’ guests at the draft.
Ingram had a much longer wait, and was flirting with falling out of the first round, but wound up in the same division as Jones, the NFC South. After New Orleans passed on him at No. 24, when it addressed its biggest defensive need, it traded up to snare Ingram at No. 28 – the same pick the New York Giants used to take his father in 1987.
When ESPN read an e-mailed statement from Mark Ingram Sr., who was serving time for bank fraud and money laundering, the emotional 2009 Heisman Trophy winner choked up and said, “I want to tell my dad I love him. I miss you dog.”
4-for-4: Alabama's Four First-Round Drafts
2011: Marcell Dareus (No. 3 overall, Bills), Julio Jones (6, Falcons), James Carpenter (25, Seahawks), Mark Ingram II (28 Ravens)
2017: Marlon Humphrey (16, Ravens), Jonathan Allen (17, Redskins), O.J. Howard (19, Buccaneers), Reuben Foster (31, 49ers).
2018: Minkah Fitzpatrick (11, Dolphins), Da'Ron Payne (13, Redskins), Rashaan Evans (22, Titans, Calvin Ridley (26, Falcons).
2020: Tua Tagovailoa (5, Dolphins), Jedrick Wills Jr. (10, Browns), Henry Ruggs III (12, Raiders), Jerry Jeudy (15).
Some of this post originated from "100 Things Crimson tide Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die," published by Triumph Books