Historical Look At Tide In NFL Draft

Nick Saban continues to establish program milestones even in the off-season. A record four Alabama football players were selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft surpassing the previous high of three in 1993. Two, Marcell Dareus and Julio Jones, became the school's highest picks ever at their positions since the advent of the 1967 Common Draft between the AFL and NFL.

Marcell Dareus leaped Jon Hand, the Indianapolis Colts first round, fourth overall 1986 selection, who reigned as the top Alabama defensive lineman. The Buffalo Bills grabbed the 6-4, 319-pound versatile Dareus with the third choice last Thursday in the National Football League Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The Birmingham Huffman High School graduate distinguished himself as the first defensive lineman chosen overall this year.

Julio Jones's grandiose entrance into the league was precipitated by the Atlanta Falcons surrendering five picks to the Cleveland Browns elevating 21 spots to acquire the athletic wide receiver at number six. Jones, a 6-4, 215-pound receiver supplanted Dennis Homan who was tabbed 20th by the Dallas Cowboys in 1968. Foley High School graduate Jones became only the second Baldwin County native to be so honored as a first round NFL draftee. Running back Joe Childress, a Robertsdale High School walk-on at Auburn, became a 1955 All-America before the Chicago Cardinals chose him at number seven in 1956.

James Carpenter's name came off the board unexpectedly on Thursday evening surprising the enthusiastic crowd at Radio City Music Hall. The Seattle Seahawks drafted the 6-5, 300-pound Augusta, Ga., native (Hephzibah High School) at number 25. His name was not even among the NFL Player Profiles listed in the pre-draft manual naming 29 offensive linemen.

Alabama's consecutive starting left tackles were back-to-back first round choices for the first time in school history. The Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College transfer replaced Andre Smith, the fifth overall selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was the first overall running back chosen Friday albeit the latest ever in draft history for his position to be selected. The New Orleans Saints negotiated a deal to obtain the New England Patriots 28th choice in exchange for a 2012 first rounder and 2011 second round pick. Ingram, a Flint Mich., native (Flint Southwestern Academy & Grand Blanc Community High School), was the first Crimson Tide running back to be a first rounder since NFL 2005 MVP Shaun Alexander in 2000.

Greg McElroy is slated to arrive in the media capital of the world, a fitting surrounding for the astute would be analyst. The New York Jets selected the "brainiac" quarterback, borrowing a term from one of his favorite movies, "Remember the Titans," with the 208th overall pick in the seventh round. He is the eighth Alabama signal caller following Kenny Stabler, Scott Hunter, Richard Todd, Jeff Rutledge, Mike Shula, Jay Barker and Brodie Croyle to hear his name called by an NFL team since 1967. John Parker Wilson earned a roster spot as an undrafted free agent in 2009.

Harry Gilmer, Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Steve Sloan were pre-1967 choices. Gilmer was the school's only number one overall selection in history. The Washington Redskins claimed him in the first round of the 1948 NFL Draft. McElroy joins Namath and Todd as two other former Alabama quarterbacks to wear the green and white of the New York Jets.

More than any other player, Namath is responsible for the merger of the old AFL and the NFL and, consequently, the merged draft. Namath led the 1968 Jets of the old AFL to the world championship (now Super Bowl) win over Baltimore of the old NFL.

Marty Lyons delighted the local New York Jets fan base in attendance by participating in prime time Friday evening as part of the 32 legendary NFL Alumni representing each team. The Alabama All-Century and 1978 All-American living in the metro area announced the Jets third round choice. Recently nominated for the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, Lyons was a member of the fabled "New York Sack exchange". He serves as the color commentator on the New York Jets radio network.

Prior to the 76th annual NFL Draft convening Thursday evening, Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the audience from the podium requesting a moment of silence from the crowd to remember the victims of the recent tornadoes in the south and especially Alabama. He proceeded to recognize the attending Alabama and Auburn NFL Draft prospects and respective two head coaches, Nick Saban and Gene Chizik, standing solemnly on the stage behind him.

The Nick Saban era of "it's about recruiting" continues to reap ancillary rewards for the program. Crimson and white was the most popular school colors mentioned in the top tier round. Accompanying the stage announcements could have been "Stars Fell on Alabama", the popular jazz standard composed in 1934 but with a slight directional revision. Manhattan's renowned Radio City Music Hall was the venue for Alabama stars prominently rising on the 2011 NFL Draft Board.

Position, Total 1st round since 1967, overall

Source: NFLmedia.com

University of Alabama NFL Draft History of four positions since 1967

Defensive Lineman 6

Marcell Dareus 2011, Buffalo Bills 3rd

John Copeland 1993, Cincinnati Bengals 5th

Eric Curry 1993, Tamp Bay Buccaneers 6th

Jon Hand 1986, Indianapolis Colts 4th

Mike Pitts 1983, Atlanta Falcons 16th

Marty Lyons 1979, New York Jets 14th

Offensive Lineman 5

James Carpenter 2011, Seattle Seahawks 25th

Andre Smith 2009, Cincinnati Bengals 6th

Chris Samuels 2000, Washington Redskins 3rd

Bob Cryder, 1978, New England Patriots 18th

John Hannah 1973, New England Patriots 4th

Wide Receiver/TE 3

Julio Jones 2011, Atlanta Falcons 6th

Ozzie Newsome 1978, Cleveland Browns 23rd

Dennis Homan 1968, Dallas Cowboys 20th

Running Back 5

Mark Ingram 20111, New Orleans Saints 28th

Shaun Alexander 2000, Seattle Seahawks 19th

Bobby Humphrey 1989, Denver Broncos Supplemental Draft

Wilbur Jackson 1974, San Francisco 49ers 9th

Les Kelley 1967 New Orleans Saints 26th

1993 NFL Draft – previous high of three University of Alabama players being first round NFL Draftees

John Copeland, Cincinnati Bengals, 5th

Eric Curry, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6th

George Teague, Green Bay Packers, 29th

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