Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Alabama players continue to feel the love
By Edward Aschoff
When we got to the latter stages of our countdown of the best 25 players in the SEC from the 2012 season, we could sense readers weren't thrilled with all of the Alabama players they saw crowding the list.
One stretch in particular really irked people -- Nos. 12-7. Five of our six players during that part of the countdown hailed from Alabama. From No. 10 to No. 7, our countdown was nothing but Crimson Tide players. Our top 10 featured five Alabama players and seven Tide players made our entire countdown.
Some people really did have a crimson headache when this whole thing was over with. But our question continued to be a very simple one: "Who would you leave off?"
But the so-called love fest doesn't end there. ESPN colleague Ryan McGee recently wrote that NFL personnel and scouts are really drooling over Alabama players. McGee's piece goes on to talk about how NFL-ready most of Nick Saban's players are because of the meticulous training and preparation they go through under Saban's guidance. And how they really are just that good.
"After a couple of decades of sending players into the NFL, his track record can't be questioned," former Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian told McGee. "His players have consistently arrived at their first camps with a willingness to work and the ability -- more importantly, the desire -- to learn. It's so, so difficult to create that work ethic in a player. He usually either comes with or he doesn't."
An NFL scout then said this about the 33 former Alabama players who were on NFL rosters last year:
"Look at who those 33 players are. You're not looking at a bunch of roster-fillers. They're starters. They're contributors. It's guys who will be worth the investment. Guys that will be in the league for seven years or more."
But don't just take their word for it. Take a gander at various mock drafts, and Alabama players litter the poor things. Mel Kiper Jr.'s Mock Draft 3.0 has four Alabama players going in the first round of next month's NFL draft. He also has five Alabama players ranked in his pre-draft position rankings. Todd McShay's third mock draft has three Bama players going in the first round.
So, it's not like we make this stuff up. Alabama has won two straight national championships and three of the last four BCS titles for a reason. You don't do that with flashy uniforms (which Alabama certainly doesn't have). You do that with quality coaching and quality players. Alabama has both, and it's a reason Tide players get all the love, dominate these lists and it's why NFL people salivate over the thought of drafting or signing a former Alabama player.
There truly is a method to the Alabama madness.