Alabama ties 2004 Miami for most first-round picks in single NFL draft

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Jack Baer
·Writer
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For nearly two decades, the 2001-04 Miami Hurricanes stood as the gold standard for future NFL talent on a college football team.

Alabama's current squad might be on its way to surpassing them.

The reigning national champions matched Miami's record of six first-rounders in the 2004 NFL draft on Saturday, with six first-rounders of their own:

  • No. 6 Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins

  • No. 9 Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Denver Broncos

  • No. 10. DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

  • No. 15. Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots

  • No. 17 Alex Leatherwood, OL, Las Vegas Raiders

  • No. 24 Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Compare that to 2004 Miami, which had:

  • No. 5 Sean Taylor, S, Washington Football Team

  • No. 6 Kellen Winslow II, TE, Cleveland Browns

  • No. 12 Jonathan Vilma, LB, New York Jets

  • No. 17 D.J. Williams, LB, Denver Broncos

  • No. 19 Vernon Carey, OL, Miami Dolphins

  • No. 21 Vince Wilfork, NT, New England Patriots

Now, some of the Alabama picks were more well-received than others. Waddle and Surtain that early? Sure. Smith at No. 10? Excellent. Jones at No. 15 (and not No. 3)? Alright. Leatherwood, though, was seen as a pretty significant reach for the Raiders, and the Harris pick carried some questions over whether the Steelers really needed a running back.

The Crimson Tide could have very well added a seventh first-rounder too, but well-regarded defensive tackle Christian Barmore went unselected.

Still, that's all pretty good for a team that had four other first-rounders — Tua Tagovailoa, Jedrick Wills, Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy — in the 2020 NFL draft. That's 10 first-rounders, nine of them on offense, in the span of two years, which isn't surprising if you watched Alabama's offense rip teams apart no matter who was throwing or catching the ball.

Between those two drafts, the 2017 Alabama recruiting class also held a whopping eight first-rounders. You better believe those facts are going into Nick Saban's recruiting brochures.

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