Alabama leads way at draft; Saban talks NFL draft

The Alabama Crimson Tide produced four first round draft picks. Marcel Dareus was picked by Buffalo. Julio Jones was picked by Atlanta. James Carpenter was picked by the Seattle. Mark Ingram was picked by New Orleans. Video reports follow below, but first Nick Saban had some comments about the Alabama players taken in the first round of the NFL draft.

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban took the opportunity to promote his program’s record of success in both victories and developing players for the next level. In other words, it is a selling point to future recruits. Saban said, “I think it says two things. I think it says we have an institution and we have a program that attracts great people. Not only athletically, academically and a lot of different ways, but I think it speaks volumes of our program because we have not only recruited some really good players, but we have developed them and they have played extremely well. It is recognized by the people at the next level that the risk of drafting players that come from our program is a little less because of the way the players work and how they are prepared and I think that is a real positive for our university and our program.”

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said many good things about the players taken in the draft. Saban said, “We are obviously very pleased that Marcell Dareus got picked with the third pick of the draft. He has done a great job for us for three years. He has really developed into an outstanding player. He is a fine young man. He has represented the University of Alabama in a first-class way, and I’m sure he is going to represent the Buffalo Bills in the same way. He is a character quality guy that has a lot of physical ability and talent. I think any city would be proud to have Marcell Dareus as a part of their organization.”

Saban also praised Julio Jones: “I’m really please for Julio. Initially a lot of people had a lot of questions about a lot of things about Julio. I think the more they got to know him, the more they fell in love with him. In terms of the kind of person he is, the kind of character he has and the kind of competitive character and toughness that he plays with. There is no doubt in my mind that he has great hands and all of these people that question that – he has made a lot of great catches. He has done a phenomenal job for us and it is great to have him in Atlanta. It is a big city in the south and a close city for us and a place that we do a lot of recruiting. We are excited about having the opportunity to see him in the future. Atlanta is going to love him.”

Saban praised LT James Carpenter: “James really played well for us in his two years and really developed nicely and made a tremendous amount of improvement. I know people really like his athleticism. They like the fact he can play guard or tackle. He had a great Senior Bowl, and I think that sort of catapulted him up the charts in the draft and we were extremely happy to see him get picked where he did.”

Saban said Mark Ingram was the best back available in the draft. Saban said, “I was actually hopeful that the Saints were going to pick him at No. 24. I think it (New Orleans) is the perfect situation for him. I know he is probably a little disappointed that he didn’t get picked earlier. He was the best running back in the draft, there is no doubt about it. The Saints have a great offense. They have a great quarterback. Sean Peyton does a great job of utilizing personnel. Mark is a very versatile player, and I think this is a great fit for him. I think sometimes it is worth it, especially when you are a skill guy, to get in the right place with the right fit, and I think this is perfect for Mark.”

VIDEO: Marcel Dareus headed to Buffalo: Experts say Buffalo finally made a choice that addressed a need. “He is productive. He is going to play right away at probably defensive end,” according to the report.

VIDEO: Falcons Trade For Julio: Atlanta moves up 21 picks to select Bama WR.

VIDEO: Saints trade away next year’s first rounder to New England to nab former Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram.

The official release from the University of Alabama:
The University of Alabama had a school-record four players selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday evening.

Junior Marcell Dareus was taken by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 3 overall pick while junior wide receiver Julio Jones went three selections later to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 6. Senior offensive lineman James Carpenter was a pleasant surprise in the first round for the Crimson Tide, going No. 25 overall to the Seattle Seahawks. Junior running back Mark Ingram then capped an illustrious Alabama career when he was selected with the 28th overall pick of the first round by the New Orleans Saints.

The four first-round selections was a school record for Alabama, breaking the mark of three set in 1993 with John Copeland, Eric Curry and George Teague all going in round one. UA has now had seven first-round picks in the past three seasons under the guidance of head coach Nick Saban.

“I think having four players selected in the first round says we have an institution and we have a program that attracts great people,” Saban said. “Not only athletically, academically and a lot of different ways, but I think it speaks volumes of our program because we have not only recruited some really good players, but we have developed them, and they have played extremely well.

“It is recognized by the people at the next level that the risk of drafting players that come from our program is a little less because of the way the players work, and how they are prepared and I think that is a real positive for our university and our program.”

Dareus, a native of Birmingham, Ala., was taken with the third overall pick after anchoring the Crimson Tide’s defensive line a season ago. He made 34 tackles with 11 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hurries in just 11 games. Dareus was also the defensive MVP of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game and is the highest player chosen in the NFL Draft for Alabama since Cornelius Bennett was the No. 2 overall pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 1987.

Jones, from Foley, Ala., was the catalyst to the Alabama passing game the past three seasons and turned in the most productive year of his career in 2011 with 78 receptions for 1,133 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished his career No. 2 at Alabama in catches and receiving yards. Jones is the Tide’s fourth top-10 pick in the last three years.

Ingram, out of Flint, Mich., finished his Alabama career in 2010 as the school’s career leader in rushing touchdowns with 42. He became the first Alabama player to win the Heisman Trophy in 2009 and then went on to lead the Tide to a win in the BCS National Championship Game, earning offensive MVP honors. Ingram is the first UA running back to go in the first round since Shaun Alexander in the 2000 draft.

Carpenter, a junior-college transfer from Augusta, Ga., started every game at left tackle in his two seasons at the Capstone. He opened holes to help a potent rushing attack of Ingram and Trent Richardson while also providing blindside protection to UA quarterback Greg McElroy.

The second and third round of the NFL Draft continues on Friday evening from Radio City Music hall in New York City with rounds 4-7 wrapping up the draft on Saturday.