Alabama head coach Nick Saban broke a record over the weekend when he became the all-time leader when he passed Penn State’s Joe Paterno with the most first-round picks in the NFL Draft produced by a college football coach (34).
On Thursday night, the Crimson Tide had three No. 1 picks. Defensive tackles Quinnen Williams went No. 3 overall to the New York Jets, offensive tackle Jonah Williams went No. 11 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, and running back Josh Jacobs was drafted No. 24 overall by the Oakland Raiders.
Overall, Alabama had 10 players selected in the draft, which was the most by any team.
Other players that were chosen were:
- Irv Smith Jr. – No. 50 in the second round, Minnesota Vikings
- Damien Harris – No. 87 in the third round, New England Patriots
- Christian Miller – No. 115 in the fourth round, Carolina Panthers
- Deionte Thompson – No. 139 in the fifth round, Arizona Cardinals
- Ross Pierschbacher – No. 153 in the fifth round, Washington Redskins
- Mack Wilson – No. 155 in the fifth round, Cleveland Browns
- Isaiah Buggs – No. 192 in the sixth round, Pittsburgh Steelers
A few weeks ago, Saban was harshly criticize by the media and some fans for basically saying that some kids need to stay in school one more year to improve their draft status.
One particular former player who seemed to have taken it as a shot towards him was safety Ronnie Harrison. Harrison ended up going in the third round in the 2018 NFL Draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but many thought had he stayed in school another year, his draft status could have been higher. Harrison took to Twitter to express his feelings about the situation and was met with push back from some Bama fans.
But it looks like in the end, Saban was right. Several of his juniors who left early like linebacker Mack Wilson and safety Deionte Thompson dropped to the fifth round of the draft, which means a lot less money.
While both will make the league minimum if they make the team, you have to wonder what one more year in Tuscaloosa would have meant to them. For running back Damian Harris, it meant a third round selection to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and potentially a multi-million dollar contract, all because he actually listened to what Saban had to say about his draft status last year.
Rumors were flying over the weekend as to why Thompson and Wilson dropped in the draft. For Thompson, some said it was injuries. For Wilson, it was his attitude, although he never got in trouble while he was in Tuscaloosa.
Ultimately, however, Nick Saban turned out to be a prophet. He knew exactly what he was talking about, but I doubt none of his former players, nor the media members who criticize him, will admit it though.