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Alabama Football Continues First-Round Dominance in the 2024 NFL Draft

Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban
© Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Alabama’s football excellence was on full display during the opening night of the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit, Michigan, as three former players were selected in the first round. Offensive tackle JC Latham joined the Tennessee Titans at No. 7, linebacker Dallas Turner secured a spot with the Minnesota Vikings at No. 16, and cornerback Terrion Arnold found his new home with the Detroit Lions at No. 24.

With these three selections, head coach Nick Saban further solidified his status as a premier talent developer, boasting an impressive 52 first-round picks throughout his career, with a staggering 47 coming from his tenure at Alabama alone. This remarkable achievement underscores the Crimson Tide’s continued dominance in producing top-tier NFL talent.

The Saban 47

  • 2009 – Andre Smith (No. 6, Cincinnati)

  • 2010 - Rolando McClain (No. 8, Oakland), Kareem Jackson (No. 20, Houston)

  • 2011 - Marcell Dareus (No. 3, Buffalo), Julio Jones (No. 6, Atlanta), James Carpenter (No. 25, Seattle), Mark Ingram (No. 28, New Orleans)

  • 2012 – Trent Richardson (No. 3, Cleveland), Mark Barron (No. 7, Tampa Bay), Dre Kirkpatrick (No. 17, Cincinnati), Dont'a Hightower (No. 25, New England)

  • 2013 – Dee Milliner (No. 9, New York Jets), Chance Warmack (No. 10, Tennessee), D.J. Fluker (No. 11, San Diego)

  • 2014 – C.J. Mosley (No. 17, Baltimore), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (No. 21, Green Bay)

  • 2015 – Amari Cooper (No. 4, Oakland)

  • 2016 – Ryan Kelly (No. 18, Indianapolis)

  • 2017 – Marlon Humphrey (No. 16, Baltimore), Jonathan Allen (No. 17, Washington), O.J. Howard (No. 19, Tampa Bay), Reuben Foster (No. 31, San Francisco)

  • 2018 – Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 11, Miami), Da’Ron Payne (No. 13, Washington), Rashaan Evans (No. 22, Tennessee), Calvin Ridley (No. 26, Atlanta)

  • 2019 – Quinnen Williams (No. 3, New York Jets), Jonah Williams (No. 11, Cincinnati), Josh Jacobs (Oakland, No. 24)

  • 2020 – Tua Tagovailoa (No. 5, Miami Dolphins), Jedrick Wills Jr. (No.10 Cleveland Browns), Henry Ruggs III (No. 12, Las Vegas Raiders), Jerry Jeudy (No. 15, Denver Broncos)

  • 2021 – Jaylen Waddle (No. 6, Miami Dolphins), Patrick Surtain II, (No.9 Denver Broncos), DeVonta Smith (No. 10, Philadelphia Eagles), Mac Jones, (No. 15, New England Patriots), Alex Leatherwood, (No. 17, Las Vegas Raiders), Najee Harris, (No. 24, Pittsburgh Steelers)

  • 2022 – Evan Neal (No. 7, New York Giants), Jameson Williams (No. 12, Detroit Lions)

  • 2023 – Bryce Young (No. 1, Carolina Panthers), Will Anderson Jr. (No. 3, Houston Texans), Jahmyr Gibbs (No. 12, Detroit Lions)

  • 2024 – JC Latham (No. 7, Tennessee Titans), Dallas Turner (No. 16, Minnesota Vikings), Terrion Arnold (No. 24, Detroit Lions)

Alabama football continues to dominate the NFL Draft, extending its streak of first-round selections to an impressive 16 years. Since 2009, the Crimson Tide has maintained a stronghold on the first round, surpassing the previous record set by Miami from 1995 to 2008. Head coach Nick Saban plays a pivotal role in this success, holding the NCAA records for both the most first-round draft picks in a career (52) and from a single school (47), far surpassing the achievements of his closest competitor, the late Joe Paterno.

This year's draft once again highlights Alabama's ability to produce top talent, with four players selected in the first round. This accomplishment marks the 13th time in the last 16 drafts that the Crimson Tide has seen multiple players chosen in the opening round. While there were leaner years, such as 2009, 2015, and 2016, when Alabama produced only one first-round pick, the overall trend underscores the program's consistency in churning out NFL-ready players.

Alabama's dominance extends beyond just recent years, as the Crimson Tide has been a powerhouse in NFL Draft history. Since 2000, Alabama has led all NCAA programs with an astounding 49 first-round selections, showcasing its enduring legacy of excellence. This figure stands significantly ahead of the next closest school, Ohio State, which boasts 38 first-round picks during the same period. Moreover, in the last decade alone, Alabama has nearly doubled the first-round selections of its nearest competitor, with 46 players drafted since 2010 compared to Ohio State's 25.

As the NFL Draft continues to serve as a barometer of collegiate football success, Alabama's ongoing reign at the top reaffirms its status as a perennial powerhouse. With a pipeline of talent consistently flowing from Tuscaloosa to the professional ranks, the Crimson Tide shows no signs of relinquishing its grip on the first round anytime soon.

The 2024 NFL Draft - Alabama Football

Alabama’s dominance in the NFL Draft extends beyond just the first round, as evidenced by its impressive showing across all three days of the event. With 10 selections in the latest draft, the Crimson Tide continues its streak of having at least seven draft picks for 13 consecutive years, underscoring the program’s depth and talent development.

Since 2009, Alabama has solidified its reputation as a factory for NFL talent, producing a staggering 133 draft picks, the highest of any college football program during that period. This sustained success speaks to the consistency and quality of players that the Crimson Tide consistently produces, further cementing its status as a breeding ground for future NFL stars.

The 2024 draft marked another milestone for Alabama, as the 10 players selected tied for the second-most in school history. This achievement is a testament to the program’s ability to reload year after year, maintaining a high level of performance and attracting top recruits. Joining the ranks of historical drafts in 1945, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023 and now 2024, this accomplishment further solidifies Alabama’s place among college football’s elite programs.

JC Latham, Offensive Lineman (No. 7 | Tennessee Titans)

Titans OL JC Latham
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Latham has emerged as a formidable force on the football field, solidifying his reputation as one of college football’s top offensive linemen. In the 2023 season, he clinched All-SEC First Team honors from both the Associated Press and conference coaches, showcasing his exceptional skill and consistency. With just two sacks conceded over 800-plus snaps, Latham’s performance was marked by over 40 knockdown blocks—an average of more than 3.0 per game—an impressive feat by any standard.

His sophomore year was no less impressive, with Latham starting in all 13 games and delivering 29 knockdown blocks while allowing only two sacks. Transitioning from a key reserve role in his freshman season to anchoring the offensive line, Latham’s versatility and dedication have been key to his success. Despite facing initial challenges, he embraced each opportunity to contribute, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the team’s success. As Latham continues to make waves on the gridiron, his journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and dedication in the competitive realm of college football.

Dallas Turner, Outside Linebacker (No. 16 | Minnesota Vikings)

Vikings OLB Dallas Turner
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the realm of college football, Turner’s name resonates as one of the premier defenders, entering the NFL Draft with accolades as one of the country’s top overall defenders and a standout pass-rusher. His leadership as a permanent team captain for the Tide in 2023 was underscored by his impressive performance, earning him consensus first-team All-American honors and the title of SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Turner’s stat line for the season boasted 53 total tackles, including a team-high 14.5 for loss and an impressive 10 sacks, along with impactful contributions such as forced fumbles and quarterback hurries.

Even in his earlier seasons, Turner’s talent was evident. As a sophomore in 2022, he showcased his prowess with 37 tackles, eight for loss, and four sacks, showcasing his ability to disrupt opposing offenses. Turner’s freshman year was equally impressive, earning him Freshman All-America honors and a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team. With immediate impact, he tallied 30 stops, including 10 for loss and 8.5 sacks, setting the stage for his remarkable collegiate career. Turner’s journey from highly touted recruit to defensive stalwart highlights his consistent excellence and readiness for the challenges of the NFL stage.

Terrion Arnold, Defensive Back (No. 24 | Detroit Lions)

Lions CB Terrion Arnold
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arnold’s ascent as one of the nation’s top defensive backs is evident as he enters the NFL Draft with a stellar collegiate resume. In his redshirt sophomore season, he solidified his status as a defensive standout, earning first-team All-American honors from the Associated Press and securing a spot on the All-SEC first team as recognized by conference coaches. His contributions in the 2023 season were impressive, with 63 total tackles, 6.5 for loss, and a notable performance of 12 pass breakups and five interceptions, showcasing his prowess in defending the aerial attack.

The Tallahassee native’s impact extended beyond his impressive stats, as he led Alabama in interceptions and finished tied for the SEC lead, while also boasting a high average of 1.2 passes defended per game. Arnold’s debut season in 2022 was equally noteworthy, earning him recognition as a Freshman All-American and a spot on the Freshman All-SEC Team. Despite being in his first season of action, Arnold showcased his talent with 45 tackles, eight pass breakups, an interception, and a fumble recovery, demonstrating his versatility and adaptability on the field. As Arnold sets his sights on the NFL, his track record of success and ability to make game-changing plays position him as a formidable force in the professional ranks.

Kool-Aid McKinstry, Defensive Back (No. 41 | New Orleans Saints)

Saints CB Kool-Aid McKinstry
© Brianna Paciorka / USA TODAY NETWORK

McKinstry’s tenure with the Tide showcased his prowess as a true lockdown corner, earning him accolades and admiration throughout his collegiate career. As a freshman, he quickly made his mark in Alabama’s deep secondary unit, earning recognition on the Freshman All-SEC Team by conference coaches. McKinstry’s impact only grew in subsequent seasons, with impressive performances earning him first-team All-America honors from multiple outlets.

In his junior year, McKinstry’s defensive prowess was on full display, despite teams often avoiding his side of the field. Nevertheless, he managed to break up seven passes and contribute 32 tackles, demonstrating his versatility and impact on the field. Additionally, his contributions extended beyond defense, as he played a crucial role on special teams, showcasing his dynamic abilities as a returner.

In previous seasons, McKinstry’s dominance was evident, earning him first-team All-America recognition for his performance as a corner and returner. His standout performance in punt returns ranked him among the nation’s best, highlighting his ability to make game-changing plays in multiple facets of the game. As McKinstry sets his sights on the NFL, his track record of success and multifaceted skill set position him as a top prospect ready to make a significant impact at the professional level.

Chris Braswell, Outside Linebacker (No.57 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Tampa Bay OLB Chris Braswell
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout his collegiate career, Braswell showcased his versatility and impact on the field, contributing significantly to Alabama’s success. In his senior campaign, he demonstrated his ability to make game-changing plays, recording impressive stats across 14 games, including two starts. His performance was highlighted by 42 total tackles, 10.5 for loss, and eight sacks, underlining his effectiveness as a disruptive force on defense.

Braswell’s contributions extended beyond traditional defensive roles, as evidenced by his interception returned for a score, one blocked field goal, and a team-leading three forced fumbles. Even in his junior and sophomore seasons, Braswell made his presence felt, consistently delivering solid performances and making key plays when called upon. Whether on defense or special teams, his impact was undeniable, earning him respect among teammates and opponents alike.

Jermaine Burton, Wide Receiver (No.80 | Cincinnati Bengals)

Bengals WR Jermaine Burton
© Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Burton’s impact on the Crimson Tide’s offense was undeniable during his two-year tenure, showcasing his talent as a dynamic receiver. In his senior season, he emerged as a key playmaker, leading the team with 798 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 39 catches, boasting an impressive average of 20.5 yards per catch, a statistic that led the SEC and ranked sixth nationally.

In his first season with Alabama, Burton made his presence felt, tallying seven touchdown catches among his 40 receptions for 677 yards, contributing significantly to the team’s offensive success. Prior to his time at Alabama, Burton began his collegiate career at Georgia, laying the foundation for his journey to becoming a standout receiver in the SEC.

Justin Eboigbe, Defensive Lineman (No. 105 | Los Angeles Chargers)

Chargers DL Justine Eboigbe
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eboigbe’s return to full health in 2023 marked a significant resurgence for the Tide’s defense, with the Forest Park native reclaiming his pivotal role. Despite a shortened season in 2022 due to a neck injury, he showcased his prowess with 11 tackles and two quarterback hurries. In 2023, Eboigbe’s impact reverberated across the field, as he ranked fourth on the team with 64 total tackles, including 11.5 for loss and seven sacks, earning him well-deserved All-SEC First Team honors from conference coaches.

Throughout his collegiate journey, Eboigbe’s resilience and determination were constants. From his early days as a freshman, where he made significant contributions with 10 tackles, to his sophomore and junior seasons where he continued to excel in various defensive roles, Eboigbe’s evolution was evident. Despite setbacks, such as his injury-shortened 2022 campaign, he consistently demonstrated his value as a disruptive force on the Tide’s defensive line, earning the respect and admiration of teammates and coaches alike. Eboigbe’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and dedication in overcoming obstacles and leaving a lasting impact on the gridiron.

Jase McClellon, Running Back (No. 186 | Atlanta Falcons)

Falcons RB Jase McClellan
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

McClellan's four-year journey as a running back for the Crimson Tide culminated in an impressive career, leaving his mark with 1,981 rushing yards, earning him the 24th spot on Alabama's all-time rushing list. Stepping into the starting role in his senior year, he led UA's backfield with 890 yards and eight touchdowns on 180 carries, showcasing his versatility with 15 receptions for 137 yards in 2023.

Despite facing challenges such as injury setbacks and backing up future NFL talent like Jahmyr Gibbs, McClellan's impact was undeniable. In his junior season, he ranked second on the team with 655 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, demonstrating his ability to thrive in a supportive role. Even in his freshman year, McClellan carved out a niche for himself in a deep backfield, contributing 245 yards and two touchdowns while also making valuable contributions on special teams. Throughout his collegiate career, McClellan's consistency and dedication were evident, solidifying his legacy as a dependable presence in the Tide's backfield.

Will Reichard, Placekicker (No.203 | Minnesota Vikings)

Vikings K Will Reichard
© Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Reichard's legacy as one of college football's most reliable placekickers is etched in history, as he departs Tuscaloosa as the NCAA's career points leader with an impressive tally of 547 points, courtesy of 84 field goals and 295 PATs. His tenure at Alabama also saw him break numerous school records, including career field goals and 50-plus-yard field goals.

In his senior season, Reichard continued to shine, accumulating 121 points while earning SEC Special Teams Player of the Year honors and first-team All-SEC recognition. His consistency was a hallmark of his collegiate career, with impressive performances in each season. In 2022, he ranked second in the SEC and third nationally in total points scored, followed by leading the conference in points scored during his junior year in 2021. Even as a true freshman in 2019, Reichard showcased his talent, winning the starting kicker job and contributing 33 points before injuries limited his playing time.

Reichard's journey from a freshman standout to a record-breaking senior exemplifies his dedication and skill, leaving an indelible mark on Alabama football history and earning him recognition as one of the finest placekickers in college football history.

Jaylen Key, Defensive Back (No. 257 | New York Jets)

Jets CB Jaylen Key
© Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Key's impact in the Alabama secondary in 2023 was immediate and significant, earning a starting spot after transferring from UAB. In his lone season with the Crimson Tide, he started 12 games at safety, showcasing his defensive prowess with 60 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss, while also contributing a pass breakup and an interception with a return of 13 yards.

Before making the move to Tuscaloosa, Key honed his skills over four seasons at UAB, where he played in 43 games and amassed 74 career tackles, along with 3.5 for loss and one sack. His defensive versatility was evident with three interceptions, five pass breakups, a pair of forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery during his time with the Blazers. Key's seamless transition and impactful contributions underscore his ability to thrive at the highest level of college football.

1 Comment

Tony Thomas
Tony Thomas
Apr 30

An outstanding read Michael!!! Very informative. Well done young man!

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