It shouldn't be a surprise that Alabama got off to a strong start in Round 1.
The 2018 NFL draft started Thursday with the first round. The Cleveland Browns had the first pick, choosing Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley went next to the Giants, and USC quarterback Sam Darnold went to the Jets at No. 3.
Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward went No. 4 to the Browns, and NC State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb rounded out the top five, heading to the Broncos.
By the end of the night, 32 players had come off the board. So who has the early lead in the race to have the most players drafted this weekend?
Unsurprisingly, the SEC led all conferences with 10 first-round picks, a promising start to making it 11 straight years in which the SEC has produced the most draft picks. Of those 10 selections, seven were from Alabama and Georgia, the two participants in this year’s College Football Playoff title game.
Alabama had four picks: defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Dolphins (No. 11), defensive lineman Da'Ron Payne to the Redskins (No. 13), linebacker Rashaan Evans to the Titans (No. 22) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley to the Falcons (No. 26).
Georgia had three picks: linebacker Roquan Smith to the Bears (No. 8), and offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn (No. 23) and running back Sony Michel (No. 31) to the Patriots.
Notre Dame, UCLA and Louisville also had multiple players taken in Round 1. The left side of the Fighting Irish offensive line made up 20% of the top 10, as guard Quenton Nelson went to the Colts with the No. 6 pick and tackle Mike McGlinchey came off the board three picks later to the 49ers at No. 9.
The draft continues with the second and third rounds on Friday, starting at 7 p.m. ET.