Historically, no college in football can go three-deep at the quarterback position like Alabama.
The Crimson Tide has produced three Hall of Famers who combined to win seven NFL championships: Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Ken Stabler.
Few college programs have been better suppliers of NFL talent than Alabama. NFL teams have drafted 350 players from the Crimson Tide, eighth most of all colleges. Fifty-four of those players have been first rounders, fifth-most of all colleges.
But of late, Alabama is second to none. The Crimson Tide has had 17 players drafted in the first round this decade, six more than any other school. Alabama has had at least one first-round pick in eight consecutive drafts. That’s twice as long a streak as the next best schools (Florida and Florida State). Both numbers will grow this April when as many as six Alabama players pencil in as first-round draft picks.
One of those projected first-rounders is linebacker Reuben Foster, who won the Butkus Award in 2016 as the best linebacker in college football. And it’s linebacker, not quarterback, that Alabama excels as a supplier of NFL talent. Foster is the fourth Butkus Award winner in the 35-year history of the award. No school has produced more Butkus winners.
Alabama also had had 10 consensus All-Americas at linebacker, starting with Lee Roy Jordan in 1962. Jordan also was the first 12 Alabama linebackers selected in the first round of NFL drafts. Seven of them were selected in the Top 10 of drafts: Cornelius Bennett (second in 1987), Derrick Thomas (fourth in 1989), Keith McCants (fourth in 1990), E.J. Junior (fifth in 1981), Jordan (sixth in 1963), Barry Krauss (sixth in 1979) and Rolando McClain (eighth in 2010).
Bennett, Jordan, Thomas and Woodrow Lowe have all been enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame at linebacker, and Thomas also has a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Here’s the all-time NFL team of Alabama players:
QB – Bart Starr, Hall of Fame
HB – Shaun Alexander, 2005 NFL MVP
FB – Le’Ron McClain, 2 Pro Bowls
WR – Don Hutson, Hall of Fame
WR – Julio Jones, 4 Pro Bowls
TE – Ozzie Newsome, Hall of Fame
OT – Chris Samuels, 6 Pro Bowls
OT – Andre Smith, Outland Trophy winner
G – John Hannah, Hall of Fame
G – Evan Mathis, 2 Pro Bowls
C – Dwight Stephenson, Hall of Fame
DE – Mike Pitts, 36 ½ career sacks
DE – Jon Hand, 35 ½ career sacks
DT – Marcell Darius, 2 Pro Bowls
DT – Marty Lyons, New York Sack Exchange
OLB – Derrick Thomas, Hall of Fame
MLB – Lee Roy Jordan, 5 Pro Bowls
OLB – Cornelius Bennett, 5 Pro Bowls
CB – Don McNeal, 18 career interceptions
CB – Mark McMillian, 23 career interceptions
S – Roman Harper, 2 Pro Bowls
S – Landon Collins, Pro Bowl
P – Chris Mohr, 1,152 career punts