Last night’s NFL draft saw Alabama make history, as the two-time defending national champions became the first college team to produce three consecutive first-round picks since the common draft started in 1967. Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack and DJ Fluker became the 12th, 13th and 14th players to go in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft in the Nick Saban era at Alabama.
In 19 fewer seasons, last night’s draft saw Nick Saban top Bear Bryant’s 1st round picks while at Bama. Chew on that one for just a second. And don’t think the always working Nick Saban missed the moment. An interesting tweet from top recruit Marlon Humphrey:
These are indeed the good ole days at Alabama, with more 1st round draft parties likely on the way.
The Tide’s Dee Milliner, Chance Warmack and DJ Fluker went in order as the #9, #10 and #11 picks in the draft.
With the highly publicized trade of cornerstone player Darrell Revis to the Bucs, the New York Jets selected Dee Milliner as his replacement. And what did the 1st team All-American cornerback from Stanhope Elmore high school have to say about replacing the All-Pro corner?
“Very much I can,” said Milliner on the NFL Network. “I know I can.”
That’s confidence. But why shouldn’t he be confident? He emerged as the top defensive back in this year’s draft, having played for the top coach in college football who happens to coach that position. Following Kareem Jackson, Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick, Milliner becomes the fourth defensive back under Saban to go in the 1st round.
Chance Warmack was often called the best lineman on Alabama’s storied offensive line last season. The NFL agreed. Though Barrett Jones won all the hardware, Warmack quietly locked down the left side of the line along with left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. Warmack was one of eight offensive linemen taken in the top 32 picks of the draft, picked as a Titan.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban was confident of Warmacks abilities.
“I just think that Chance has a unique skill set and he’s got really good size,” Saban said earlier this spring. “He’s very powerful, he’s athletic, he’s got good feet, he can pass-block and he can get moving in the run game. I think people that have his kind of balance and body control and the kind of athleticism that he has at his size are rare commodities. Everybody knows that those guys play 12, 14, 15 years. I think Chance has a chance to have that kind of career.”
Warmack is considered a “plug-and-play” starter, filling an immediate need for the Titans along their interior line.
The other offensive lineman taken again wasn’t Barrett Jones. The mammoth D.J. Fluker was selected as the #11 pick by the San Diego Chargers. With Fluker’s pick, the third in a row for the Tide, ESPN’s Chris Berman proclaimed “Welcome Everyone to the Alabama Network.”
A starter at right tackle in each of his three seasons at Alabama, the 6’5, 339 pound tackle is one of the largest offensive lineman in the draft, and has long, 36.75-inch arms to match.
Fluker, the target of a Twitter hack earlier in the week, can now afford a tailor to custom make the threads needed to cover his gigantic body.
Left on the table from last night’s draft were runningback Eddie Lacy, offensive lineman Barrett Jones, defensive tackle Jessue Williams, linebacker Nico Johnson and safety Robert Lester. But likely not for long. Most of that group should find their NFL homes by the end of the day today.
One interesting footnote, as tweeted by Joe Browne of the NFL’s league office, Birmingham, Alabama was the only non-NFL market among the Top 5 highest rated watching the Draft last night. This April evening has become a party of sorts for Bama fans, and a recruiting tool gathering more top talent. Yes indeed; these are the good ole days.