Stats & Info: Dre Kirkpatrick

Crimson Tide rolls through first round

April, 26, 2012
4/26/12
11:36
PM ET
Jerry Lai/US PresswireTrent Richardson was the first of four Alabama Crimson Tide players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The national champion Alabama Crimson Tide had three underclassmen selected in the first round -- Trent Richardson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dont'a Hightower.

Last year, Marcell Dareus, Julio Jones and Mark Ingram were taken in the first round after leaving Alabama early, and in 2010, Rolando McClain and Kareem Jackson were selected in Round 1 after forgoing their final season of eligibility in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama joins the Miami Hurricanes (2002-04) as the only schools to have multiple underclassmen taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in three consecutive years.

The Crimson Tide are the first team to have eight underclassmen taken in the first round in a three-year span. Those Miami teams had seven -- two in 2002, two in 2003 and three in 2004.

Alabama is on a four-year run that began with Andre Smith being a first-round pick as an underclassman in 2009. That started after the Crimson Tide didn't have a first-round pick from 2001-2008 and failed to have a single player selected in any of the seven rounds of the 2008 Draft.

With Hightower and Mark Barron chosen in the first seven picks, the Crimson Tide became the second team in the Common Draft Era to have two or more players selected in the first 10 picks in consecutive drafts.

The Ohio State Buckeyes had two top-10 picks each in the 1996 and 1997 drafts, highlighted by Orlando Pace going first overall in 1997. Dareus and Jones went in the first 10 picks from Alabama last season.

Other than Alabama, the only school to have multiple first-round selections in each of the last two drafts was the Baylor Bears. Phil Taylor and Danny Watkins went in the first round from the Bears last season. The four picks over the last two years brings Baylor’s total to 10 first-round picks all-time.

Baylor is also one of two schools this year and five all-time to have a quarterback and wide receiver selected in the first round of the same draft.

Draft chatter
• No players from Miami, Florida or Florida State were selected in the first round for the first time since 1980.

• Nineteen early entrants were selected in the first round, surpassing the 2010 draft’s 17 for the most in NFL history.

• Riley Reiff of the Iowa Hawkeyes was the first pick from a Big Ten school, going 23rd overall to the Detroit Lions. That ties 1968 for the common draft era record for the longest into a draft before a Big Ten pick, when the Baltimore Colts selected John Williams of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

• Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith were each selected in the first round from Notre Dame. The last time the Fighting Irish had multiple first round picks was 1994 (Bryant Young, Aaron Taylor and Jeff Burris).

• Whitney Mercilus and A.J. Jenkins were the first pair of Illinois Fighting Illini players selected in the first round since Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice went in the top three picks in 1996.

• The Boise State Broncos are the first team not from a major conference to have two first-round picks since the Jackson State Tigers in 2000.

Brad Edwards contributed to this post

Lettermen and concerns return for Tide

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
1:33
PM ET

Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire
Quarterback A.J. McCarron is one of eight offensive starters returning in 2012.
Spring is a time for renewal. In college football, spring is also the time to look ahead to fall and the upcoming season. Saturday, Alabama holds its annual Golden Flake A-Day Game (ESPN3, 3 ET), which will give its fans a first look at the defending national champions.

Alabama captured its record-breaking ninth national championship of the major poll era in January. Once again, the Crimson Tide are expected to be one of the best teams in the country in 2012. But the Tide have been here before. Will history repeat?

In 2010, Alabama was preseason No. 1 in both The Associated Press and Coaches polls with 11 combined offensive and defensive starters returning from the team that had won the 2009 national title. The problem was the retention breakdown. Bama lost eight starters from a defense that allowed the second-fewest yards (244.1) and points (11.7) per game in the bowl subdivision. With QB Greg McElroy, the RB tandem of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and WR Julio Jones, the belief was that the Tide would score points and win games through their offense while buying enough time for their defense to jell.

However, all did not go as planned. The defense allowed slightly more PPG than in 2009 (13.5 in 2010, 11.7 in 2009). The Tide allowed more plays of 20-plus yards (13) in 2010 than it did in 2009 (7). They also blew a 24-point lead in a loss to archrival and eventual national champion Auburn in the regular-season finale, the biggest collapse in Alabama’s storied history. That was one of three losses for the Tide that season.

Like in 2010, this Alabama team has a quarterback returning for his second season as a starter (A.J. McCarron), along with a strong running back (Eddie Lacy). Also like the 2010 team, the Tide will lose several starters on defense including four likely first-round picks (CB Dre Kirkpatrick, OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw, LB Dont’a Hightower, S Mark Barron).

So how good will Alabama be in 2012? History suggests the Tide will be one of the best teams in college football, but not good enough to win a second straight national championship. Just like 2010.

SPONSORED HEADLINES