A few over 250 were taken in the 2015 NFL draft, and not all of them will make professional teams. Obviously, the chances of making it to professional football career are not good.
Even a program as successful as Alabama under Coach Nick Saban, which has had a phenomenal run of putting players into the NFL, had only seven players drafted in last week’s three-day draft. That number of seven was about average in the last seven years under Saban. As usual, juniors from the Tide declaring early were the most successful with Amari Cooper going in the first round and Landon Collins and T.J. Yeldon doing in the second round. Other former Bama players taken were Arie Kouandjio, Austin Shepherd, Jalston Fowler, and Xzavier Dickson.
The Southeastern Conference led the nation in providing the NFL with draftees, 54 selected from the SEC. Next was the ACC with 47, followed by the Pac 12 with 39, Big Ten with 35, and Big 12 with 25.
Although the odds get longer, not being drafted is not necessarily the end of the dream. Each year a few men sign free agent contracts and make the team.
On Sunday, there were reports of no fewer than six men who recently finished their Bama careers signing with pro teams.
Perhaps the most surprising former player to go undrafted was wide receiver DeAndrew White (6-0, 190 and a former Texas high school track champion). White would have been the featured receiver on just about any team that didn’t have Amari Cooper. White had 37 receptions for 439 yards (11.9 yards per reception) and four touchdowns last season. For his career he had 91 catches for 1,229 yards 13.5 yards per reception) and 12 touchdowns.
White has reportedly signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Blake Sims, who took over quarterback duties for Bama last year and became a record-setter in his fifth season, was not expected to be drafted as a quarterback, but Sims – who had worked at wide receiver and running back in his Tide career – was thought to have a chance at another position. It didn’t happen, but he is reported to be headed to the Green Bay Packers.
Christion Jones, 5-11, 187, was a four-year regular for Alabama, with 85 receptions for 1,030 yards (12.1 per catch) and 7 touchdowns. He was better known, however, as a kick return specialist with 64 punt returns for 709 yards (11.1 per runback) and two touchdowns and 61 kickoff returns for 1,625 yards (26.6 per) and two touchdowns. He has signed with the Miami Dolphins.
There have been no reports on a couple of players who worked out for NFL scouts at the Alabama Pro Day who have not revealed free agent plans (if any) are safety Jarrick Williams and offensive lineman Leon Brown.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the NFL draft was no team taking LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins, who was recently reported as being questioned in connection with (but not as a suspect) the murder of a woman. He had been projected as a high draft choice and he is not eligible for the 2016 draft, so he will almost certainly sign a free agent contract.
It was hard not to notice what happened downstate in this year’s draft. It was a big surprise to see Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates go undrafted for a couple of rounds before being picked up by Pittsburgh. Coates looks like a premier player at a bargain rate. It was a mild surprise to see Nick Marshall go undrafted. The Auburn quarterback of the last two years is a terrific athlete, but wasn’t considered an NFL quarterback. Not a surprise was former Tigers center Reese Dismukes going undrafted. One can only congratulate the AU publicity department for Dismukes being even All-SEC, much less the Rimington Award winner as the nation’s best center last season. He wasn’t the best in the state last year.