The first round of the NFL Draft takes place Thursday night live from Philadelphia. An eventful night for a handful of Alabama players lies in from of them.
From Jonathan Allen, who is widely projected to be the first Crimson Tide player off the board, to Cam Robinson, a total of five UA players could be first-round selections.
UA head coach Nick Saban, Allen and Robinson will attend the draft.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has five Alabama players being drafted, including Allen (defensive lineman), Robinson (offensive tackle), Reuben Foster (linebacker), O.J. Howard (tight end) and Marlon Humphrey (cornerback).
The record for most players taken in the first round from one school is six (Miami). Ohio State had five drafted in the opening round a year ago.
Foster has been projected as the best linebacker in the draft by analysts, but his rocky draft process, including being sent home from the Scouting Combine and a diluted sample leading to a failed drug test, has led to some to speculate he’ll drop in the draft.
“Hard to pass up Reuben Foster when you’re talking about (Detroit), which draft at No. 21,” Kiper said. “Baltimore at 16. A lot of teams that could be looking and saying, ‘We weren’t expecting Foster to be there, and there he is.’ And the Lions would certainly be one of the those. The (New York) Giants another, if he were there for the Giants.
“So yeah, I think at that point, you’ve got to assess how he was graded prior to these issues, investigate and figure out what the issue was. He has his story, as (Jabrill) Peppers does, but if he gets into the 20s it would be hard to pass him up.”
In Kiper’s mock draft, he has Allen projected at No. 3 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had Foster going No. 5 to the Tennessee Titans, Howard sixth overall to the New York Jets, Humphrey at No. 18 to the Titans and Robinson No. 25 to the Houston Texans.
Outside linebacker Ryan Anderson is viewed as second-day selection as are Dalvin Tomlinson (defensive lineman) and wide receiver ArDarius Stewart.
“I think the most underrated player we don’t talk enough about is ArDarius Stewart,” Kiper said. “(I) Like the way he plays. I mean yeah, he’ll drop the ball every now and then, but he’s a good football player. And I think ArDarius Stewart’s going to be a nice third-round pick for somebody as a wide receiver that can come in and help you.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.
When: First round, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia
TV: ESPN, NFL Network