It was a historic night in Radio City Music Hall for the Alabama football program. Four Crimson Tide players — a new school record — heard their names called in the first round of the NFL draft.
There were no surprises when Marcell Dareus went third to the Buffalo Bills and Julio Jones was taken sixth by the Atlanta Falcons. It wasn’t until the later stages of the primetime event when the projections went out the window.
Left tackle James Carpenter was drafted 25th by the Seattle Seahawks, though he was realistically viewed as the fourth Alabama player taken. Mark Ingram was selected three spots later by the New Orleans Saints, but Carpenter’s big move stole some of the spotlight.
A junior college transfer, Carpenter started the last two seasons protecting quarterback Greg McElroy’s blind side. He was viewed as a second-round pick at best by most draft projections, but he ensured a much richer contract by moving into the first round.
The 2011 class broke the Alabama first-round picks set in 1993 when John Copeland (fifth), Eric Curry (sixth) and George Teague (29th) set the mark at three.
The draft resumes with the second round Friday.