2022 NFL Draft: Alabama ties Miami for college football record with first rounder in 14th straight draft

2022 NFL Draft: Alabama ties Miami for college football record with first rounder in 14th straight draft

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When the New York Giants selected offensive tackle Evan Neal with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night, it vaulted Alabama into rare territory. It marked the 14th straight draft in which the Crimson Tide have seen a player selected in the first round, matching a mark previously set by Miami from 1995-2008.

It’s also a record that Alabama is almost guaranteed to break one year from now in the 2023 NFL Draft given quarterback Bryce Young and talented edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. are likely to be among the star players available.

Neal was Alabama’s 40th first-round selection under coach Nick Saban, and he wasn’t the last on Thursday night. The Detroit Lions drafted former Tide star wide receiver Jameson Williams with the No. 12 overall pick.

The 14-year run for Alabama dates back to the offseason after Saban’s second year as the program’s coach. The streak began with offensive tackle Andre Smith, who was taken No. 6 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. Prior to Smith’s selection, Alabama’s previous first-round picks came in 2000 with offensive tackle Chris Samuels and running back Shaun Alexander.

Miami had 33 players taken in the first round during its 14-year streak, which covered the tenures of three coaches and ended following Randy Shannon’s third season leading the program. Counting all rounds, Saban produced 129 draftees entering Thursday night with 107 of those coming during his tenure at Alabama.

The closest Alabama’s first-round streak came to ending over the past 14 years came in 2016 when offensive lineman Ryan Kelly went No. 18 overall and was the program’s only first-round selection that year. However, the program has had multiple first-round picks in each of the six drafts since.

With Saban continuing to rake in highly touted high school recruiting classes — and now faring well in the transfer portal — the program’s streak of producing first-round selections appears poised to continue so long as Saban keeps coaching.

Here is a look back at the first-round selections from Alabama over its record-tying 14-year run.

Alabama first-round picks since 2009

2022

OL Evan Neal

7

2022

WR Jameson Williams

12

2021

WR Jaylen Waddle

6

2021

DB Patrick Surtain II

9

2021

WR Devonta Smith

10

2021

QB MacJones

15

2021

OL Alex Leatherwood

17

2021

RB Najee Harris

24

2020

QB Tua Tagovailoa

5

2020

OL Jedrick Willis Jr.

10

2020

WR Henry Ruggs III

12

2020

WR Jerry Jeudy

15

2019

DT Quinnen Williams

3

2019

OL Jonah Williams

11

2019

RB Josh Jacobs

24

2018

DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

11

2018

DT Daron Payne

13

2018

LB Rashaan Evans

22

2018

WR Calvin Ridley

26

2017

DB Marlon Humphrey

16

2017

BY Jonathan Allen

17

2017

TE OJ Howard

19

2017

LB Reuben Foster

31

2016

OL Ryan Kelly

18

2015

WR Amari Cooper

4

2014

LB CJ Mosley

17

2014

DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

21

2013

DB Dee Milliner

9

2013

OL Chance Warmack

10

2013

OL DJ Fluker

11

2012

RB Trent Richardson

3

2012

DB Mark Barron

7

2012

DB Dr. Kirkpatrick

17

2012

LB Dont’a Hightower

25

2011

DL Marcell Dareus

3

2011

WR Julio Jones

6

2011

OL James Carpenter

25

2011

RB Mark Ingram

28

2010

Rolando McClain

8

2010

DB Kareem Jackson

20

2009

OL Andre Smith

6

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