Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces Trent Richardson (Alabama) as the number three overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
Just as in 2010, Alabama's post-BCS National Championship NFL Draft proved to be a gold mine for pro teams looking to stock their rosters with the best young talent in the country. A total of eight Crimson Tide players heard their names called from the podium of Radio City Music Hall this week. Here's the final tally with links on the team names to the threads on our fellow SB Nation sites responding to the selection:
The total of eight Alabama players chosen this year matches the Tide's all time total set in 1987. The number was also the most of any team in the country in 2012 as was the Tide's four first rounders. Here is a list of all the colleges who saw five or more players taken in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Since the NFL and AFL drafts were merged in 1967, Alabama has had seven or more players taken four times and half of those have come on Nick Saban's watch. This has become a regular enough occurrence we could be in danger of considering it routine. To belay that, it's worth looking at exactly how far the Crimson Tide has come over the past half decade.
The final years under Mike Shula weren't terribly bad in terms of NFL caliber talent but the absolute absence of picks in 2008 shows just how bare the cubboard was when Coach Saban arrived.
Perhaps the better yardstick as to the difference of talent we are seeing on the field since 2007 is the number of first round picks Saban's recruiting classes have produced. The Tide has had eleven players tapped in the first round of the draft since 2009, that's as many first rounders as Alabama had seen taken in the previous 22 years!
Now, obviously, once the draft is over, that's not the end of the story. A significant number of players who are now free agents start getting calls from teams once Mr. Irrelevant is taken. This year proved no exception. While there is some disappointment that folks like Marquis Maze and William Vlachos didn't get selected in the draft's seven rounds, they are certainly going to get their shot at making it in the pros.
Here is a list of the Alabama players who are unrestricted free agents and have signed with NFL teams. The info comes from NFL.com and confirmed news reports as we find them (team names link to the source). If you have link to any others, please feel free to let us know in the comments and we'll keep this tally updated.
The list of updates is after the jump.
Update 1: Mobile Press-Register's Creg Stephenson is reporting former Tide player Alonzo Lawrence -- who had gone on to play for Southern Miss and Miss. Gulf Coast Community College -- has signed with the Rams.
Update 2: Phelon Jones now says he's signed with the Redskins