Alabama football poised to pass 2001 Miami as king of NFL Draft

The 2001 Miami Hurricanes are considered to be the greatest collection of players in college football

The 2001 Miami Hurricanes are considered to be the greatest collection of players in college football history, at least as measured by the NFL Draft.

That roster included 38 players who went on to be drafted between 2002 and 2006. The website fivethirtyeight.com measured rosters by a mathematical formula in 2014 and declared it “the single most talented college roster” ever.

That may be about to change. What happens Thursday through Saturday at the NFL Draft in Cleveland could hand that mantle to Alabama’s 2017 team.

That UA roster includes 32 players who have already been drafted, with more to come this week when Najee Harris, Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith and others are slated to be picked by NFL teams. BetMGM has the over/under of total Alabama players to be drafted this year at 11.5, with an over/under of 5.5 for the first round.

Alabama went 13-1 in 2017, winning the national championship. That roster has sent such players as Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Jacobs, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Calvin Ridley to the NFL so far. 

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Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) takes the field at Arkansas Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. [Photo by Kent Gidley, University of Alabama]

Among those 32 Alabama picks are 29 players who have started at least one NFL game, 19 of whom have started at least one full season. Those players have combined for three Pro Bowls in their budding careers, and Fitzpatrick has been named first-team All-Pro twice.

Counted in that total of 32 draftees from the UA 2017 roster is Jalen Hurts, who transferred to Oklahoma to finish his collegiate career before being selected in the second round of last year’s draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.