Nick Saban passes Bear Bryant for most first-round NFL draft picks at Alabama
By Zac Ellis
The SEC hogged the spotlight once again in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night. Twelve SEC players were selected on the draft’s opening night, a total that tied the 2007 ACC for the most ever from one conference in the first round. And while the SEC was setting new heights for the league, Nick Saban was doing the same for his tenure at Alabama.
Three Crimson Tide players — cornerback Dee Milliner, offensive guard Chance Warmack and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker — were picked consecutively in the first round, with selections No. 9, No. 10 and No. 11. The picks upped Saban’s total of first-round draft picks to 14 during his six seasons at Alabama.
That mark is significant: Saban’s 14 first-rounders pushes the coach past legendary Crimson Tide coach Bear Bryant in that regard, as Bryant produced 13 first-round picks with Alabama. The difference? It took Bryant 25 seasons to get to that number in Tuscaloosa, according to AL.com’s Jon Solomon.
Saban and Alabama have recently dominated the rest of the SEC in first-round picks as well. Since 2009, Florida’s seven first-round selections are the league’s second-highest total behind Alabama’s 14.