Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 NLF Draft Shows Bama Really is Back

Not since 1987 has Alabama put seven players in the NFL draft from a single class, and that was back in the day when the draft went 12 rounds, as opposed to the current seven round selection process.  The 2010 class produced the following:

Round Player Overall Team Position
1st Rolando McClain 8th Raiders ILB
1st Kareem Jackson 20th Texans CB
2nd Javier Arenas 50th Chiefs CB
2nd Terrence Cody 57th Ravens DT
3rd Mike Johnson 98th Falcons OG
7th Marquis Johnson 211th Rams CB
7th Brandon Deaderick 247th Patriots DE

Since 1987, Alabama has won four SEC championships and has played for a total of seven.  The program has also won two national titles, in 1992 and 2010.   That's not a stellar run over the last quarter century or so.  A conference title here and there and two national titles would cement most coaches' legacy as a winner and guarantee him a job until retirement.

Not so at Alabama.  Since 1987, the program has also seen seven head coaches come and go. Four of them--Bill Curry, Mike Dubose and now Nick Saban--have won conference titles, and two of them own national championship rings.

Bama fans are a demanding bunch.  We are more than a little spoiled by a storied history and a legacy of excellence.  I point out the 1987 to 2010 stretch to make the point that, despite having some absolutely awful seasons in that near quarter-decade, the program has still been able to produce hardware.  It also bears noting that the program has been on the largest capital expenditure and facilities construction program in history.  When the 2010 season opens on September 04, 2010, Bryant-Denny Stadium will host 102,500 fans for the largest football game attendance in the state of Alabama.

What the 2010 NFL Draft tells us is that we should be prepared for quite a long run of Crimson Tide excellence.  The depth and quality of the talent wearing Crimson hasn't been this impressive in a generation.  The days of a program dominating a conference like the SEC and becoming a national dynasty are over, but instead of seeing Bama play for the SEC Title once every four years or so, expect to see them in contention for the conference crown annually.  And, instead of seeing them occassionally rise into mention for BCS honors, expect to see them as a perennial candidate.

Extra Point: The 1987 NFL Draft's 2nd overall selection was Cornelius "Biscuit" Bennett, an eventual five-time Pro-Bowler.