Another NFL Draft, More Records for Nick Saban

Christopher Walsh

The streak is at two. 

That's the number of consecutive years Nick Saban hasn't been able to attend the NFL draft. 

In 2019, he wasn't able to go to Nashville due to having hip-replacement surgery, and this year the entire draft went virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Usually, the University of Alabama coach makes an appearance if for no other reason to support his former players.

After all, he's had a first-round selection every year since 2008. 

Although that's one of the few records Alabama hasn't broken yet (Miami 1995-2008), Saban continues to set new ones with each and every draft. 

Among those set this year:

 With Tua Tagovailoa's fifth-overall selection, Saban became the first college head coach in the NFL's common draft era to produce a first-round pick at every non-specialist position. 

• Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III became the first pair of receivers to be selected in the top 15 of an NFL draft in history.  

• The four first-round selections tied the Alabama record joining 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2020 drafts. The Crimson Tide was one selection away in 2019 from having four straight drafts with four first-round picks. 

Last year, Saban set the record for the most first-rounders for a coach in college football history, as running back Josh Jacobs to the Oakland Raiders was his 34th first-round selection.

That number doesn’t include players he recruited and helped developed, but were drafted after he had moved on from either Michigan State or LSU.

With four more first-round selections this year, Saban has separated himself from the field:

  • Nick Saban 38
  • Joe Paterno 33
  • Bobby Bowden 32
  • Woody Hayes 27
  • Mack Bown 21
  • Lou Holtz 20
  • Tom Osborne 19
  • Paul W. “Bear” Bryant 18
  • John McKay 18

Saban's had 33 selections at Alabama alone, so he's tied Joe Paterno for the record at one school. 

Meanwhile, Alabama has lost 17 only games since the 2008 season. 

NicK Saban's First-Round Players

Alabama 2009-20 drafts (33)

Year, Player, Pick, Team, Position

2020 Tua Tagovailoa, 5, Dolphins, QB

2020 Jedrick Wills Jr., 10, Browns, T

2020 Henry Ruggs III, 12, Raiders, WR

2020 Jerry Jeudy, 15, Broncos, WR

2019 Quinnen Williams, 3, Jets, DT

2019 Jonah Williams, 11, Bengals, OL

2019 Josh Jacobs, 24, Raiders, RB

2018 Minkah Fitzpatrick, 11, Dolphins, DB

2018 Da'Ron Payne, 13, Redskins, DT

2018 Rashaan Evans, 22, Titans, LB

2018 Calvin Ridley, 26, Falcons, WR

2017 Marlon Humphrey, 16, Ravens, DB

2017 Jonathan Allen, 17, Redskins, DE

2017 O.J. Howard, 19, Buccaneers, TE

2017 Reuben Foster, 31, 49ers, LB

2016 Ryan Kelly, 18, Colts, C

2015 Amari Cooper, 4, Raiders, WR

2014 C.J. Mosley, 17, Ravens, LB

2014 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, 21, Packers, DB

2013 Dee Milliner, 9, Jets, DB

2013 Chance Warmack, 10, Titans, G

2013 D.J. Fluker, 11, Chargers, T

2012 Trent Richardson, 3, Browns, RB

2012 Mark Barron, 7, Buccaneers, DB

2012 Dre Kirkpatrick, 17, Bengals, DB

2012 Dont'a Hightower, 25, Patriots, LB

2011 Marcell Dareus, 3, Bills, DT

2011 Julio Jones, 6, Falcons, WR

2011 James Carpenter, 25, Seahawks, T

2011 Mark Ingram Jr., 28, Saints, RB

2010 Rolando McClain, 8, Raiders, LB

2010 Kareem Jackson, 20, Texans, DB

2009 Andre Smith, 6, Bengals, T

LSU 2001-05 drafts (2)

2005 Marcus Spears, 20, Cowboys, DE

2004 Michael Clayton, 15, Buccaneers, WR

Michigan State 1996-2000 drafts (3)

2000 Plaxico Burress, 8, Steelers, WR

2000 Julian Peterson, 16, 49ers, LB

1999 Dimitrius Underwood, 29, Vikings, DE

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