Category Archives: NFL Draft

Thoughts and Analysis: Alabama in the NFL Draft

The picture Barrett Jones tweeted of himself after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. (Photo from @BarrettAJones)

The picture Barrett Jones tweeted of himself after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. (Photo from @BarrettAJones)

To add on to my analysis of Alabama in the First Round, I’m going to go through the Crimson Tide in the following rounds. But, before I do, be sure to check out all of the official Draft coverage here on the DailyBamaBlog.com, all of it on one page with no interruptions right here.

Here we go:

– The more feedback I receive via Twitter and more I see elsewhere, the more I think I may be the only one on the planet not surprised by Eddie Lacy and his fall into the Green Bay Packers organization at Pick No. 61. Lacy’s medical history is not very good (and even worse, it’s all in his legs) and in today’s NFL, where the runningback-by-committee approach is spreading like wildfire due to daily wear-and-tear, the thought of going from three backs to two is scary. That may have driven a team or two away from Lacy.

That being said, Lacy’s value to the Packers will be great. The Packers will likely only need 10 or so carries a game out of Lacy, and he can surely give that. His stats after a few years may be lower than some of the three backs drafted ahead of him – Giovani Bernard (North Carolina), Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State) and Montee Ball (Wisconsin) – but his situation suits him greatly and he is immediately in contention for a Super Bowl title.

– Maybe the Chiefs have caught on to the whole dynasty thing going on in Tuscaloosa: their selection of Nico Johnson early in the fourth round makes for three Nick Saban era Alabama defensive players to be drafted by the Chiefs, joining defensive backs Javier Arenas and DeQuan Menzie. Their presence in Kansas City should work wonders for Johnson, as long as he can do what he needs to do to work on his weaknesses: first step on the run, quickness in getting back on playaction, etc.

– I have yet to have a negative thought on the Rams picking up Barrett Jones in the fourth round. Ever since the Rams took quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick a few years ago, they have been trying to find him some pieces to make his job easier on offense. Surely some security up front would be welcomed by Bradford. Where Jones will play is a decision that has yet to be made, but I think we all know he can play anywhere if necessary.

– Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Seahawks nabbing Jesse Williams in the beginning of the 5th round was one of the biggest, if not the, steals of the draft. Williams’ 4.9 40-yard dash and impressive showing in agility drills paired with his ridiculous strength makes him a once-in-a-generation physical specimen. Admittedly, we have not seen as much of his playmaking abilities as we would like, since the nosetackle in Saban’s 3-4 scheme is more of a space-eater than a TFL guy, but we have seen him get those tackles for a loss through a double team. Bold prediction: he’s going to be a top 5 pick-up for the Seahawks in the Russell Wilson era, which makes the Seahawks look like soon-to-be contenders in the NFC.

– Nothing new here, just the San Fransisco adding nice pieces to its rotation it late rounds again, like it did with Quinton Dial. Dial will most likely never be a star in the league: no Pro-Bowls, no All-Decade teams, etc. But he will prove to be a nice breather guy: someone who can take a few snaps at defensive end and continue to apply pressure while the starters rest up. Those guys are almost as important as the starters: on those 11 or more play drives, a glaring weakness in a back-up can turn a momentum-swinging stop into a game-clinching touchdown.

– In the final round of the draft, the Detroit Lions selected another piece for Matthew Stafford to throw to, tight end Michael Williams. Williams told the Detroit media that he wants to bring balance to the tight end position in Detroit, both as a blocker and a dumpoff option. Williams showed the tools to do just that with the Tide and if he is given an opportunity to show that in Detroit, he will certainly earn playing time before long.

Trio of former Alabama players sign contracts after NFL Draft

Former Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker has signed a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars and will try to win the starting long snapper job. The Jags had seven-year veteran Jeremy Cain as the long snapper last season. Tinker is currently the only former Alabama player on the Jaguars roster.

Lester is the second former Alabama player out of Foley, Alabama, to be signed to the NFL in the days of and surrounding the 2013 NFL Draft, joining offensive lineman D.J. Fluker in the NFL after signing with the Carolina Panthers. Lester is currently the only former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide signed by the Panthers.

Lester ended his senior season with four interceptions, second on the team, returned for 41 yards. Lester also recorded 48 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

imageDefensive lineman Damion Square was the third and final former player to sign with a team out of free agency, striking a deal with the Eagles.

The Eagles have two former Crimson Tide players on the roster: offensive lineman Evan Mathis and linebacker DeMeco Ryans.

Square recorded 33 tackles as a senior, four for a loss, with 3.5 sacks. Square also tallied nine quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.

Round Seven: Michael Williams makes it 9 Alabama draftees

After an uneventful Round Six for the Crimson Tide, the Detroit Lions put a cap on Alabama in the 2013 NFL Draft by drafting former Alabama tight end Michael Williams with pick No. 211, the fifth pick of the seventh and final round.

Williams proved to be a valuable part of the Tide’s run blocking success in addition to catching 24 passes for 183 yards and four touchdowns.

“In today’s game, a lot of people get caught up with tight ends doing more of the receiving part of it,” Williams told Detroit media in a conference call according to DetroitLions.com. “Sometimes they forget about the blocking end of it. I’m looking to try and bring that back.”

The Lions are excited about their new H-Back.

“He has a extremely high football IQ,” said Lions tight ends coach Bobby Johnson. “The kid started four years at Alabama and they could not replace him. If you talk to the coaches at Alabama, they say the hardest guy to replace in their offense is Michael Williams.”

Click here for a full report from DetroitLions.com, including video of Johnson on Williams.

Normally I would put a tweet of the player celebrating his being drafted here, but this is the only thing Williams has tweeted since.

Before you ask, no, I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Round Five: Jesse Williams, Quinton Dial to be rivals in NFC West

Jesse Williams' football career has moved him from Australia, to Arizona, to Tuscaloosa, to Seattle. (AP photo)

Jesse Williams’ football career has moved him from Australia, to Arizona, to Tuscaloosa, to Seattle. (AP photo)

Just like it was in the Fourth Round, Alabama had its named called early in the 2013 NFL Draft’s 5th Round, as former Alabama defensive lineman Jesse Williams was taken with the 4th pick (137th overall) by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks have one former Alabama player on the roster: offensive lineman James Carpenter, who was the franchise’s first round pick a few years ago.

***

Make it two former Alabama defensive ends that have been taken in the 5th Round, as Quinton Dial is taken with the 24th pick of the round, pick No. 157 overall.

Four of San Fransisco’s seven picks thus far have come from the SEC: Eric Reid of LSU in the first round, Corey Lemonier of Auburn in the third, Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina in the fourth and now Dial.

Dial is currently the only former member of the Crimson Tide on the 49ers roster, assuming he is able to sign a deal.

Round Four: Nico Johnson goes early, Barrett Jones to St. Louis

Nico Johnson is a now a Kansas City Chief. (AP photo)

Nico Johnson is a now a Kansas City Chief. (AP photo)

The national headline of the 2013 NFL Draft’s 4th Round will be the opening pick, as the Eagles traded up to get the first pick of the day and draft former USC quarterback Matt Barkley. The headline in Tuscaloosa, Ala., however, will skip that pick and go to the next one, where former Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson was taken No. 99 overall, 2nd in the 4th round, by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The USA Today had the following analysis of the Johnson pick.

If there’s any program that produces players virtually ready to step into an NFL lineup, it’s Nick Saban’s. Johnson is already experienced in the 3-4 defense — Alabama has helped popularize the scheme at the Division I level — and could very easily step into a starting job next to Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson if he can beat out journeymen Zac Diles and Akeem Jordan.

The Chiefs are no stranger to drafting former Alabama players, drafting two defensive backs from the Tide in the last five years that still remain with the team: Javier Arenas and DeQuan Menzie.

The Chiefs have shown interest in Johnson throughout the process, starting with this interview while Johnson was preparing for the Senior Bowl.

***

With pick No. 113 (No. 16 in the 4th round), former Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones was picked up by the St. Louis Rams as a piece to help protect quarterback Sam Bradford.

USA Today put forth some analysis of this pickup, as well.

Jones is one of the most decorated linemen in college football history, earning three rings and multiple All-American accolades with the Tide. He’s played all five spots on the O-line — well — but left guard in St. Louis could be his ticket. Jones has played through a myriad of injuries and gutted out Alabama’s 2012 title march with a Lisfranc (foot) injury, which says a lot about his toughness.

Eddie Lacy’s wait finally ends, drafted by the Packers

Twitter was set ablaze with theories as to why former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy and why he fell from a first-round pick in some mock drafts into the second round, and later and later into the second.

Lacy, who was in New York City for the first round but left the city after going undrafted in the first round, was taken with the 61st pick overall, the 29th of the second round, by the Green Bay Packers. Lacy will join a running back corps that includes Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant.

Lacy finished last season with 1,360 yards and 17 touchdowns, 321 of those yards and three of the touchdowns coming in the final two games of the year against Georgia and Notre Dame.

Thoughts on the First Round of the NFL Draft

Former Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker was drafted No. 11 overall by the San Diego Chargers. (AP photo)

Former Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker was drafted No. 11 overall by the San Diego Chargers. (AP photo)

Before I get analytical here, be sure to click here to read the post from earlier on the draft, including the spot in which every Alabama player drafted in the first round was taken and what head coach Nick Saban had to say about it.

– I cannot get over the fact that the Detroit Lions did not take Dee Milliner at No. 5. The Lions already have Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the defensive line, and have no one in the secondary to speak of. Instead, they draft Ezekial Ansah, a defensive end from BYU, to add to a defensive line that is set as it is. One of the biggest head-scratchers of the draft, I think.

– That being said, Milliner found a pretty good landing spot in New York. The Jets recently traded Darrelle Revis away to the Tampa Bay Bucs and leaves a hole wide-open for a No. 1 cornerback that an aggressive, blitz-heavy defense like the one Rex Ryan runs needs desperately. Milliner will be tested heavily and quickly, being in a division with greats like Tom Brady in New England, plus meetings with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones (Falcons), Drew Brees (Saints), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) and Joe Flacco (Ravens) on the schedule for 2013 as well.

– Speaking of head scratchers, I’m also a little skeptical of North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper being taken No. 7 overall ahead of Chance Warmack

Cooper, on the other hand, had the chance to pick on lesser competition such as Wake Forest, Isaho, Duke and Virginia, to name a few, last season with the Tar Heels. Warmack will fit in beautifully in Tennessee, as the Titans are trying to build a balanced run-pass attack and they have the perfect guard for it.

- Speaking of perfect fits, it's hard to hate D.J. Fluker going to the Chargers. I don’t see Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers complaining at the thought of putting Fluker’s massive body in front of him for protection. Fluker may not be on a winning team right away, sometimes because of Rivers…..

….but he will certainly have a chance to shine.

– I am not surprised that both Eddie Lacy went undrafted after the first round. Lacy is quite injury prone, as you have surely noticed by now, to the point where he really only played one game close to 100 percent – the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame. He may have exploded for 140 yards a a touchdown on seven yards per carry, but that’s just one game. There is not enough data on him as a fully healthy back.

Plus, in today’s NFL, a 20-carry back is a thing of the past. Lacy will be part of a three-man rotation, in all likelihood, and first-round money might be a little too much to pay for one of three backs.

– I can say the same for Barrett Jones. His Lis franc injury in his foot surely does not help his case, but his versatility could come back to bite him: we all know he can play every position on the line, but can he be a soldified starter in the NFL at any of them? This is a question that a lot of general managers have about Jones. Whoever gets Jones will certainly be drafting a valuable player, as his attitude and public perception will do wonders for the team’s PR department, but his on-field potential is being questioned, whether that be fair or not.

Video Gallery: Alabama in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft

Below, we have compiled videos from the three former Alabama players selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

————–

Cornerback Dee Milliner

You can click here to see Milliner’s name called as the No. 9 overall pick, on his way to the New York Jets. You can also see some highlights of Milliner’s post-draft interviews by clicking here, and then another in the video below.

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay went in-detail with the Tennessee Titans decision to draft Chance Warmack.

Finally, you can click here to see the video of D.J. Fluker being drafted by the San Diego Chargers.

Also, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy go over the decision to draft Fluker.

Alabama makes history in the NFL Draft

Former Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner after being drafted 9th overall by the New York Jets. (AP photo)

Former Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner after being drafted 9th overall by the New York Jets. (AP photo)

“The Process Realized, Nick Saban.” That was the signature on the “Not If, But When” posters released by UA as a promotion for its players on NFL Draft Day.

As it has in several NFL Drafts in the last four years, Alabama made history and made itself the first school to have players taken back-to-back-to-back in the first round. Cornerback Dee Milliner went No. 9 to the New York Jets, offensive guard Chance Warmack went No. 10 to the Tennessee Titans and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker went No. 11 to the San Diego Chargers.

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban likes where Milliner is headed, to a team that desperately needs him after trading away star cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Bucs.

“I think it is a great opportunity for Dee,” Saban said. “Rex Ryan does a lot of the same stuff that we do in terms of how they play in the secondary and what they do. I think Dee will fit right in, they do a lot of stuff, and he is a smart guy. I think it is a good fit for him.”

Fluker found a similarly-beneficial situation, going to the Chargers where he can contend immediately for a starting job.

“The run on tackles early on with three going in the first four picks, really helped D.J.,” Saban said. “It is great place for him to have that opportunity. San Diego is a good organization and a great place to live. I think he will do a really good job as well.”

Saban praised Warmack’s ability to fit into any situation and not hoping for a specific team to pick him up.

“Chance would have been a good player anywhere,” Saban said. “There aren’t many guys that are as powerful as he is, and plays with the kind of consistency that he plays with. I kind of knew those two guys were going to be picked right in there, and I was happy it happened that way. It is a great pick for Tennessee.”

Scout ban nothing to do with agents: Saban

Nick Saban just finished his news conference in which he tried to head off the story that he’s banned NFL scouts from practice.

He has, but not for the reasons speculated.

“I know there’s been a lot made of this whole sort of NFL scout thing and really I don’t think it’s fair to our players for people to come in here and evaluate our players when it’s 110 degrees outside and we’re going through two-a-days,” Saban said. “So, I don’t really want the guys here when we’re going through two-a-days. It’s especially hot this year and what I told people is we’ll put out a schedule some time after Aug. 25th. So we didn’t close this to the NFL for any particular reason.”

Read more later about a teleconference Saban said he organized that involved everyone from college coaches to the NFLPA and the NFL commissioner. Interesting stuff in this, the 900th post in Bama Blog history.

UPDATE: On the topic of agents, Saban said everyone needs to be held accountable when rules are broken. That includes players and not just while they’re still in school.

“Is it not conduct detrimental if a player does the wrong thing in college and gets suspended for his senior season just so he can play in the NFL? It hurts the NFL,” Saban said. “It hurts the college. It hurts the player. It hurts everybody. So why shouldn’t he get suspended for conduct detrimental just like Roethlisberger or some of the other guys that doesn’t do the right thing?

“Now I like Ben Roethlisberger. I have respect for him and I don’t mean that in a negative way, but he’s being suspended right now for not doing the right thing in a particular circumstance.”

3:29 p.m. update: An Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to The Bama Blog that Jim Tressel participated in the call but doesn’t expect the Buckeye coach to comment on it.

4:45 update: A spokesman from Oklahoma confirmed the The Blog that Bob Stoops also participated in the call. 

McClain signs with Raiders

Associated Press photo
It looks like Rolando McClain won’t miss a practice after all. Every media outlet in the Bay Area is reporting the Butkus Award winner from Decatur signed his contract with the Oakland Raiders and is heading to the wine country in Napa for training camp.
Details of the contract were not published by sources outside of ESPN.com. The worldwide leader says the Decatur product is guaranteed $23 million of the $40-million deal that spans five years. Check out that story by clicking here.
If those numbers are accurate, McClain’s deal is considerably better than the one last year’s eighth overall pick received. Offensive lineman Eugene Monroe inked a deal worth (just) $35.4 million overall and (just) $19.2 million guaranteed.
This negotiation went much better than the JaMarcus Russell fiasco of a few years back. No lengthy holdout will spoil the rookie season for McClain who is expected to play a big part in the rebuilding Raider defense.
For stories straight from Raiders’ trainng camp, click here and here.
As always, stick with the blog for any updates we can provide.

Star Jackson transferring, Tiffin cut from Browns

It was a busy news day, and of course I was wrapped up working on other stories and missed some of the bigger headlines of the day.

First, in a hardly surprising move, it appears Star Jackson’s Alabama career is over. Nick Saban confirmed the sophomore quarterback’s plans to transfer at today’s stop on the Crimson Caravan, the Mobile Press-Register reported.

Since the once heralded recruit is third on the quarterback depth chart behind Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron, this hardly came as a surprise.

In NFL news, former Crimson Tide kicker Leigh Tiffin got some bad news a day after getting some good news. The Muscle Shoals product was cut by the Cleveland Browns a day after signing a free agent deal.

Checking in on 'Bama NFL rookies

It’s been about a month since the NFL draft and the Crimson Tide players selected are settling into their new surroundings. Here are a few updates courtesy of the beat writers who cover the teams and a few other newspapers.

Leigh Tiffin wasn’t drafted, but he signed on with the Cleveland Browns. The TimesDaily ran this update in today’s paper.

Terrence Cody appears to be doing well with the Baltimore Ravens, according to this story and this story.

Javier Arenas is working at nickel back with the Chiefs, the Kansas City Star reports.

Mike Johnson is working with the Falcons second-team offensive line, so says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Rolando McClain, the San Francisco Examiner says, is “a stud.”

Kige Ramsey didn’t play at Alabama, but he does like his Tennessee Titans jerseys and makes great videos. Here is your Kige video of the day.

Who really will be a better pro?

It is the question I posed in the Bama Blog poll and there was a runaway winner. Rolando McClain has the high expectations of the readership by earning 77 percent of the vote. Javier Arenas and Terrence Cody picked up seven percent a piece to tie for second.

Click here for the compete results.

If you’re asking me, I’d have to agree with the 77 percent who went with McClain. He has all the physical and mental tools to succeed at the next level. He seems to be making an impact already in Oakland Raiders mini-camp and I’m fascinated to see how he’ll do this fall.

Arenas is another smart bet considering his versatility. Nick Saban said his NFL experience taught him the importance of having a player who can handle himself at cornerback and punt/kick returner. With smaller rosters, it’s important to find a player who can handle two positions like Arenas.

The only surprising result of the poll was the confidence the readers had in the other Alabama first-round pick. Kareem Jackson got just two percent of the vote.

I’d like to hear more of your views on the topic. Leave a comment by clicking the comment button at the top of the post. And if you haven’t voted yet, do so below.

<div><a href=”http://www.micropoll.com/akira/mpview/648539-250504″>Click Here for Poll</a><a href=”http://www.questionpro.com” title=”online survey”>Online Survey</a><BR><a href=”http://www.surveyanalytics.com/enterprise-feedback-management.html” title=”Enterprise Feedback Management”>Enterprise Feedback Management</a><BR> | <a href=”http://www.micropoll.com” title=”Polls”>Polls</a><BR> | <a href=”http://www.contactpro.com” title=”email marketing”>Email Marketing</a><BR><BR> | <a href=”http://www.ideascale.com/” title=”crowdsourcing software”>Crowdsourcing Software</a><BR><a href=”http://www.micropoll.com/akira/MicroPoll?mode=html&amp;id=250504″>View MicroPoll</A></div>

And now, the latest from Kige Ramsey.

Updating drafted/free agent list

This will evolve as we confirm more signings. As of now, there are nine members of the Tide defense who has been either drafted or signed to free agent deals. Here is the list as of 4:36 p.m.:

Draft picks
Round 1: Rolando McClain (No.8) Oakland Raiders
Round 1: Kareem Jackson (No. 20) Houston Texans
Round 2: Javier Arenas (No. 50) Kansas City Chiefs
Round 2: Terrence Cody (No. 57) Baltimore Ravens
Round 3: Mike Johnson (No. 98) Atlanta Falcons
Round 7: Marquis Johnson (No. 211) St. Louis Rams
Round 7: Brandon Deaderick (No. 247) New England Patriots

Free agent signings
Colin Peek, Atlanta Falcons
Cory Reamer, New York Jets
Eryk Anders, Cleveland Browns
Lorenzo Washington, Dallas Cowboys