In a tumultuous first round marked by trades, over-drafted quarterbacks, knee injuries, and the Tunsil saga, the national media (thankfully) never really spent time questioning the fall of a trio of Alabama players: Reggie Ragland, A'Shawn Robinson, and Jarran Reed.
While a surprise that none were picked in the first round, it is not unfathomable. Ragland, while a tremendous player, plays at one of the least valuable positions in the NFL. In fact, Darron Lee, the hyper-athletic linebacker from Ohio State, was the only true linebacker drafted in the entire first round. Similarly, Reed and Robinson are both specialized in run-stopping, but not as well rounded when it comes to rushing the passer. With this being possibly the strongest defensive tackle class in a decade, many teams probably felt that they could wait to take their interior lineman later rather than sooner.
On the other hand, Ryan Kelly stayed true to his soaring projections and went 18th overall to the Colts, keeping the Tide streak of 1st rounders alive. Many around the nation are already projecting Kelly to go on to become an All-Pro before he even finishes his rookie contract.
Other thoughts from day 1:
- I still cannot wrap my mind around how much Los Angeles and Philadelphia gave up for these QBs. Remember that draft when Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, and Blaine Gabbert all went high in the first round? This feel's like De Ja Vu.
- Though many expected it, its still a surprise to see Elliot go at #4. The entire NFL still seemed to be struggling with PTSD from the Trent Richardson bust, so this was a bit interesting. With Dallas's transcendent offensive line, I'd expect Elliot to have a stellar rookie campaign.
- The Jaguars got a steal with Jalen Ramsey at 5th overall. I considered him the best player in the entire draft.
- Despite all the talk of this being a weak class for wide receivers, four of them still went in the first round, including a frantic run of three in a row from #21-23. While I'm not sold on Fuller, I think Josh Doctson, Corey Coleman, and Laquon Treadwell will all be very solid NFL receivers.
- Georgia pass-rusher Leonard Floyd was the only SEC player to be selected in the top 10-- the least since the 2006 draft class.
- Overall though, 8 total players came from the SEC, which is more than any other conference.
- One of the more heartbreaking stories to come out of this is that of Myles Jack. The UCLA linebacker was challenging Jalen Ramsey in many rankings as the best draft prospect in the nation. He's a high character player that can play as a true linebacker, rush the passer, and is even an exceptional running back. However, due to a recent medical report over degenerative cartilage in his knee, he dropped all the way out of the first round. I can only imagine how devastating that is.
- Using scout.com's ratings, a total of 22/31 players selected in the first round were 4 or 5 star prospects in high school. Considering that these blue chip prospects make up only a small fraction of the total players in college football, that seems to be a pretty good indicator that recruiting rankings are not, in fact, complete garbage
Depending on which NFL you happen to pull for, you can now spend the next 18 hours digesting all the information you can handle on whichever player your team selected. As Alabama fans, we can prepare for a massive second round haul. Ragland, Reed, and Robinson all should come off the board fairly soon, as should the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry. Past these players, Kenyan Drake and Cyrus Jones both have a very outside shot of sneaking into the end of day two.
See you all tomorrow, and Roll Tide.